London [U.K.]: With the Canadian government officially confirming its plans to legalise marijuana with an addendum that it will not include a blanket pardon for those with past pot convictions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted that his late brother was once charged with marijuana possession and that their father’s connections and intervention helped in making the charges “go away”.
In 2013, Trudeau confessed in an interview that he had smoked marijuana five or six times in his life.
Earlier this month, Trudeau’s Liberal government tabled the legislation to fully legalise marijuana by mid-2018, putting Canada on course to become the first country in the G7 to do so.
However, the step has been criticised by some over its failure to include a reprieve for those with marijuana-related convictions, despite the government’s acknowledgment that those with criminal records often have trouble finding work, housing or travelling outside the country, reports the Guardian.
Trudeau spoke earnestly about how his brother Michel – six months before he died in an avalanche in British Columbia – had in 1998 been involved in a car accident.
Police found a few joints in the wreckage and charged Michel with possession of marijuana. But their father – the former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau – assured him it would be alright.
“He reached out to his friends in the legal community, got the best possible lawyer and was very confident that he was going to be able to make those charges go away. We were able to do that because we had resources, my dad had a couple of connections, and we were confident that my little brother wasn’t going to be saddled with a criminal record for life,” he said.
Sharing his brother’s experience of being charged with possession, Trudeau said the incident threw light on how the current approach fails to treat all Canadians equally.
“People from minority communities, marginalised communities, without economic resources, are not going to have that kind of option to go through and clear their name in the justice system. That’s one of the fundamental unfairness’s of this current system is that it affects different communities in a different way,” he said.
On Monday, Trudeau suggested that once the legislation is approved, his government would address the issue of criminal charges.
“Our focus is on making sure we’re changing the legislation to fix what’s broken about a system that is hurting Canadians. And then we’ll take steps to look at what we can do for those people who have criminal records for something that would no longer be criminal,” the Prime Minister said. (ANI)