Canada on Wednesday became the first major world economy to legalize recreational marijuana, beginning a national experiment that will alter the country’s social, cultural and economic fabric, and present the nation with its biggest public policy challenge in decades.

On Wednesday morning, the government announced that it would introduce legislation to make it easier for Canadians who had been convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana to obtain a pardon.

While the government is not offering a blanket amnesty, Ralph Goodale, the public safety minister, said at a news conference in Ottawa that as “a matter of basic fairness,” the government would seek to end the minimum waiting period of five years to apply for a pardon as well as waiving the fee of 631 Canadian dollars.

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Dan Bilefsky ~ NYTimes.com

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