NDP MP Murray Rankin tabled a private member's bill earlier this month that pushed for the expungement of records of anyone who carries a criminal record for past minor, non-violent pot possession convictions.
The official said Tuesday that those convicted of possessing of 30 grams or less of marijuana will be eligible for a pardon, but they will have to apply for one.
But the waiting period and the cost of applying for a pardon, known as a record suspension, have proven hard for some people saddled with records. A suspension doesn't erase a record, but can make it easier to get a job, travel and generally contribute to society.
As of Tuesday the drug was still illegal, and officials at the media briefing said any charges or cases before the courts could still be prosecuted after legalization.
At a joint press conference at 9:15 a.m.in Ottawa Wednesday, the main ministers involved on the cannabis file - Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, and Border Security and Organized Crime Minister Bill Blair - will speak with reporters about the way forward on this in broad terms, and about other issues as legalization rolls out across Canada.
Officials, who spoke on condition they not be identified by name, quietly admitted they are getting a lot of questions - from how Health Canada will handle complaints, to public awareness campaigns, to roadside impaired-driving tests.
"It was three years ago Justin Trudeau campaigned on legalizing cannabis", Ford said during a speech.
Canadians 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory, will be able to buy and use fresh dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds for cultivation from regulated retailers beginning Wednesday.
"We will do what is necessary to ensure that kids don't have access to this drug and that we work collectively together to displace that (illegal market)".
"They won't know its potency", Blair said.