New Democrats will put decriminalization to a vote to urge the government to stop handing out criminal records for personal use of marijuana.

Today, the NDP announced that it will put the issue of marijuana decriminalization to a vote in Parliament as an opposition day motion in the coming days. Despite Justin Trudeau's clear campaign promise to immediately fix marijuana laws in Canada, the government has done nothing for 8 months except continue the senseless practice of handing out criminal records for personal use.

"Canadians thought they were voting for a Liberal government that would act quickly to stop arresting people and giving them criminal records for marijuana possession," said NDP Justice Critic Murray Rankin. "But instead we see a government that has failed to move on this issue and worse, has encouraged law enforcement to continue cracking down, further wasting resources and bringing greater confusion to the legal system."

This year, as many as 60,000 Canadians will be arrested for simple possession of marijuana and 22,000 will end up with criminal records. Recently, Former Liberal Prime Minster Jean Chrétien has said the government should move on decriminalization and even the Conservative Party of Canada has modernized its approach to marijuana laws, calling on the government to remove possession from the criminal code.

"The majority of the convictions for pot possession involve young Canadians, who should not be burdened with criminal records for the rest of their lives especially when the government plans to legalize marijuana at some point in the future," said NDP Youth Critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach. "The Liberals should take a clear first step and immediately decriminalize the possession of marijuana."


The following motion will be debated in the House on Monday, June 13th, 2016:

That the House: (a) recognize the contradiction of continuing to give Canadian criminal records for simple possession of marijuana after the government has stated that it should not be a crime; (b) recognize that this situation is unacceptable to Canadians, municipalities and law enforcement agencies; (c) recognize that a growing number of voices, including that of a former Liberal prime minister, are calling for decriminalization to address this gap; and (d) call upon the government to immediately decriminalize the simple possession of marijuana for personal use.