By Jacqueline Corba
Canada's imminent decision to legalize marijuana is a welcome milestone, but the law's failure to absolve people with criminal records for pot prevents them from fully participating in the new, legal cannabis business, said the activist Jodie Emery.
"It's more about big business and government getting into pot sales than it is about protecting the civil liberties of the victims of prohibition," Emery said in an interview Friday with Cheddar.
She and her husband Marc have each paid $200,000 in fines after pleading guilty to a number of drug related charges, including possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
"If it's not against the law tomorrow to sell marijuana, why would somebody still be called a criminal for doing it yesterday?" Emery said.
Canada's Senate voted 56-30 on Thursday in favor of legalize marijuana for recreational use. If the legislation passes the House of Commons, the country will become the first of the Group of Seven nations to fully legalize cannabis.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, an outspoken advocate for legalization, has said the drug will be legal by summer. But, some Senators have delayed the final vote, calling for more amendments.
The proposed law calls for strict regulation on advertising and lets provinces decide whether residents can grow their own weed at home. Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001.
Emery said she plans to promote cannabis culture by opening a cafe in Toronto called "Jodie's Joint" where she will sell coffee and, eventually, weed.
For full interview, click here.