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Uplift to launch cannabis expungement campaign

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Uplift’s branch on Burnaby Street (File photograph)

An embattled business selling hemp-derived products will soon launch a campaign to help those with past convictions for possessing small amounts of cannabis to clear their records.

Kalyn Cannonier, of Uplift, said that the campaign is planned to start next month to assist those with expungable convictions complete the required paperwork.

“We want to assist those who have had a possession charge in the past for less than 7g of marijuana,” she said.

In 2017, the Misuse of Drugs (Decriminalisation of Cannabis) Amendment Act decriminalised possession of 7g or less of the drug.

Ms Cannonier said: “We want to help them get their records expunged of that offence by helping them fill out an expungement application that the Government has issued.

“We are going to help them do that, and we are excited to do that.”

The Government passed legislation in 2021 to allow members of the public to apply to have past convictions for possessing small amounts of cannabis committed before December 20, 2017, wiped from their records.

(Image from the Uplift Instagram page)

While the process has encountered challenges, Ms Cannonier said that not everyone who was eligible for an expungement order was aware of the policy.

“We have heard about a lot of people not even knowing about the process,” she said. “I have spoken to a lot of people just in conversation who said they didn’t know it existed.

“We want to highlight it even more and help people fill it out.”

Ms Cannonier said that past cannabis convictions can have a lasting impact, including difficulty travelling to the United States because of the immigration “stop list”.

“While we cannot guarantee that they would come off the stop list, we can help get it off your record so when you apply you can let them know it is no longer part of your record and they can review it,” she said.

Ms Cannonier said the campaign was a part of Uplift’s efforts to promote social justice on the island.

“We try to spread a lot of awareness about how the criminalisation of marijuana has affected many, not just in our community, but specifically in the Black and brown community,” she said.

“It is important that if we are going to be in this space that we rally for all aspects of this space.”

Uplift recently made headlines when it announced on social media that it had received customs guidance that threatened to force the business to shut its doors.

However, Uplift’s two Hamilton outlets have remained open and the customs guidance was removed from the government website.

Ms Cannonier said yesterday that she could not yet speak on the dispute and no comments have been made by the Government about the guidance.

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Published April 19, 2024 at 7:50 am (Updated April 19, 2024 at 7:05 am)

Uplift to launch cannabis expungement campaign

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