With the new regulation of cannabis act to 19 years in Ontario, the traffic courts are set to face more legal battles to handle in the coming years. It should be noted that Ontario increased the legal age for marijuana possession by one year as compared to Ottawa in July 2018 when ownership of the drug became legal.
According to the new regulation, people under the age of 19 could face provincial charges which include traffic tickets and a fine of $200 and attending prevention or educational program.
Yasir Naqvi, the Provincial Attorney General of Ontario, established the initiative to set it under Provincial offence to eliminate criminal record of the youth and to educate them instead of punishing them.
However, the catch in this otherwise considerate law is that the youth will face a lifetime ban in the US for the illegal possession of drugs even if they are not convicted in the province if they plead guilty.
For those with plans of migrating to the US, this becomes a drawback, and it is a massive deal for a lot of people more than the penalty of paying the fine.
The youth convicted of a Provincial crime would face harsh criminal charges in a year or two as the traffic court are too busy handling other traffic-related cases. The cases often remain pending for over two years by which time the youth would have reached a legal age of 20 and be convicted of an offence two years ago. This not only seems illogical but unproductive for the defendant and wastage of time on traffic courts.
For this, the youth convicted of the provincial offence will fight harder to go to trial and plead not guilty. Lawyers should be prepared to assist them in the court of law at all levels to prevent the clogging of traffic courts.