1. SOUNDBITE (English) Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction:
"Today, our government has delivered on our promise to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis, in order to better keep cannabis out of the hands of our youth and to keep profits away from criminals. We know from experience that the criminal prohibition that was in effect for a century in this country has failed our kids and our communities. It has led to a situation in which our children use cannabis currently at the highest rate of any country in the world."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction:
"We are not merely legalizing it. You cannot regulate a prohibited substance, so we are lifting the prohibition - that's what legalization is - to enable us to implement a comprehensive and far more effective system of strict regulatory control that will bring regulatory control and order to every aspect of the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ralph Goodale, Canadian Minister of Public Safety:
"As previously indicated, we will be proposing another new law to make things fairer for Canadians who have been previously convicted of simple possession of cannabis."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Ralph Goodale, Canadian Minister of Public Safety:
"Now that the laws on cannabis have changed, individuals who previously acquired criminal records for simple possession of cannabis should be allowed to shed the burden and the stigma of that record. So today, I am announcing that the government of Canada intends to present legislation, which, when enacted, will allow these individuals to apply for a pardon as long as they have completed their sentence, there will be no further waiting period and no fee."
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ralph Goodale, Canadian Minister of Public Safety:
"This will eliminate what are disproportionate consequences and break down barriers, which could mean greater access to job opportunities in education, housing and even the ability to simply volunteer for a charity in your local community."
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Ralph Goodale, Canadian Minister of Public Safety:
"This has to be accomplished in a way that is solid and achieves the ultimate result. We're moving with all due speed to get to where we need to be. But we have to do it right and we will take each logical step, one after the other after the other."
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Canada's government will introduce legislation to let people apply for a pardon of small-scale marijuana possession convictions — as long as they've finished their sentence.
The announcement comes on the day that Canada has legalized so-called recreational marijuana.
Goodale says there will be no fees involved. He says the initiative is about basic fairness.
A senior government official earlier told The Associated Press that those convicted of possessing of 30 grams or less of marijuana would be eligible for a pardon. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly ahead of Wednesday's announcement.
The governing Liberal Party holds a majority in Parliament, so passage is largely assured.
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