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Canada, Listen to Henry Rollins and Pardon Cannabis Offenders

Henry Rollins and Alex Rogers

After a locale legalizes, regulates, and taxes cannabis, the economic benefits garner a vast majority of the headlines. Billion dollar business deals, thousands of new jobs, and millions in new revenue capture the attention of entrepreneurs, voters, and elected officials, across the political spectrum. However, for those of us that have been activists fighting the Drug War for years (if not decades), the ending of criminal penalties and expunging criminal convictions are what really excite us. It’s great that a non-cannabis user, rock icon Henry Rollins, is calling on Canada to pardon cannabis offenders, ahead of his keynote address at the International Cannabis Business Conference this weekend.

Rollins expressed his feelings on the issue to Civilized, stating that he would “beg” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pardon victims of the war on cannabis:

“Why keep that person in jail for another eight years for something you can do now? I think it comes down to a human decency and moral issue. Things change. Can you change with the change, or are you going to look like some really bad anachronism?”

And since he won’t get a chance to plead the prisoners’ case with the prime minister in person, Rollins is challenging Trudeau to justify maintaining this archaic relic of prohibition.

“I would love to see Prime Minister Trudeau defend that point,” Rollins told Civilized. “I think he’s too smart to be able to BS his way through that in primetime. As far as retroactive emancipation goes, there’s no way they haven’t thought about it. There’s someone in an office that is looking at what the blowback would be for another term, who would bite back, how many donors they would lose, etc. I just don’t see Trudeau being able to justify keeping these people in prison at taxpayers’ expense. Life is short. Do you really want to squash people that hard?”

I had the honor of helping the Measure 91 legalization campaign in Oregon and while it is great to see stories detailing the fact that ending prohibition has created 19,000 jobs and generating millions of dollars for schools and other important state programs, my favorite story was about an expungement of a past felony. Learning that someone experienced “tears of joy” after a felony was removed from his record warmed my heart and helped inspire me to fight for more reforms, especially when it’s easy to get bogged down in the mundane (although important) regulatory details.

Justin Trudeau and the ruling Liberal Party have done a great service for the Canadian people as more freedom, jobs, and revenue will benefit society. Hopefully, Prime Minister Trudeau and provincial officials will listen to voices like Henry Rollins and the Great White North can right some wrongs of the failed, harmful, and racist War on Cannabis.

Hear from, and get a chance to meet, Henry Rollins as he’ll passionately call upon the Canadian cannabis community to remember victims of the Drug War in his keynote address at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, this June 24th-25th. In addition to Rollins, hear from, and network with, top activists, entrepreneurs, investors, and employers as they detail the latest information and share tips from their trade. If you are in the cannabis industry, or thinking of joining, the ICBC is the conference for you. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Henry Rollins, Justin Trudeau