Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that an expert group currently considering the decriminalisation of cannabis is examining the systems in jurisdictions in which cannabis has been decriminalised for recreational use.

Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will legalise the consumption and cultivation of the drug from next October.

Speaking at the British-Irish Council in Guernsey, Mr Varadkar said it is something that is under consideration.

He said: "We're conscious that Portugal has done it and has had some success in moving it from a criminal justice matter to a health and addiction issue and I'm very conscious that cannabis has been decriminalised in every state on the west coast of the United States.

"Colorado, most recently Canada and the sky hasn't [fallen] in, so it's something that's under consideration".

Last November, the Minister for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy announced the establishment of the working group to look into alternative approaches to the possession of drugs for personal use.

Catherine Byrne made the announcement after an Oireachtas committee recommended a "harm reducing and rehabilitative approach to possession of small amounts of illegal drugs."