The Canadian Government has announced that it will push for the legalisation of cannabis next year.
On Wednesday Health Minister Jane Philpott pledged to introduce legislation, following a campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The announcement coincided with ‘4/20’, an event marked each year by cannabis advocates around the world on 20 April.
The Canadian Government’s advocacy for cannabis legalisation was met with dismay by Conservative politician Gerard Deltell.
He warned that a relaxation in the law would harm Canadians’ health.
Speaking to Reuters news agency, he said: “That’s one of the worst things you can do to Canadian youth – to open the door to marijuana”.
Cannabis is currently allowed for medical use in Canada, having been legalised in 2001.
The Canadian Government made its announcement at the same time as thousands of people around the world gathered to signal their support for the decriminalisation of cannabis.
In the UK, large crowds gathered at Hyde Park in London and at Glasgow Green.
The police were criticised afterwards for allowing thousands of pro-cannabis demonstrators to walk free, despite brazen use of the drug in public.
The Metropolitan Police reported that they had made 23 arrests, including one for the possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. Twelve of the people arrested were given cannabis warnings.
In Glasgow, the police failed to make a single arrest despite officers witnessing crowds of people smoking the drug.
The lack of action was decried by a Scottish Conservative spokesman who said: “Cannabis is not a harmless drug, no matter what these campaigners want to pretend.
“It’s responsible for one in ten drug-related hospital admissions, and causes all kinds of mental health difficulties.”
Earlier this month the BBC revealed that the number of arrests being made for cannabis possession has fallen by 46 per cent since 2010.
This is despite evidence that cannabis use has remained roughly the same.
However, the Home Office has said that all crimes reported to the police should be taken seriously, followed up on and, if necessary, taken through the courts.