The federal government doesn't want teenagers to end up with criminal records for marijuana possession -- but says it has no plan to grant pardons for Canadians already convicted of the offense.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the federal government will not offer a general amnesty for marijuana convictions when the drug becomes legal.

The statement comes after the C.D. Howe Institute recommended pardoning those convicted for possession and dropping outstanding charges.

Goodale said that wouldn't happen -- but pointed out those with a criminal record are allowed to apply for a pardon.

Meanwhile legislation has been tabled that would children aged 12 to 17 not face criminal prosecution for possessing or sharing up to five grams of marijuana.

Liberal MP Bill Blair said provinces could introduce non-criminal sanctions, such as tickets, for children who possess marijuana.

Under current law anyone, including children, can be charged for having any amount of pot.

With files from The Canadian Press