A companion bill to the Cannabis Licensing Act, 2020 that would expunge the records of some people convicted for carrying small amounts of marijuana received the stamp of approval from the House of Assembly July 2.

Deputy Premier Carvin Malone confirmed that after hours of closed-door deliberation, the bill passed the House without dissent.

He presented the Drug (Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Act, 2020 for second and third readings at the 11th sitting of the House on June 30.

Though members extensively debated the main bill that would legalise the use of medical marijuana, no one publicly commented on the companion bill that evening.

The bill would expunge the criminal record of a person found guilty of possessing no more than 50 grams of cannabis or no more than 10 grams of cannabis resin, as long as they meet certain criteria.

The person must have been arrested at least a year ago; must not have any subsequent criminal charges filed related to the arrest; must have committed an offence that is not associated with indictable offences under the Criminal Code 1997; must not have supplied cannabis with the intent to traffic; and must not have supplied to individuals younger than 18.

The court can also consider the petitioner’s current age, age at the time of the offence, time since conviction, and the consequences of having the charge on their record.

Both bills await assent from Governor Gus Jaspert before they become law.