Logo for Operation Cannabis (Anonymous)

Anonymous has waded into the ongoing debate over the legalisation of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes in the United States by launching Operation Cannabis.

A prominent member of the hacking collective, YourAnonNews, launched the joint operation with the Occupy movement in the US to fight for legislation that will allow cannabis to be used freely.

"It is common knowledge that this substance is significantly less harmful than alcohol or nicotine, two drugs widely deemed acceptable by society," said a statement from the collective on Tumblr. "Regardless of this, the US government even goes so far to claim that cannabis has 'no accepted medical value', while many studies show that it impedes/prevents the growth of cancer cells in humans."

Anonymous called on all activists who are part of the "99 percent movement" to highlight the marijuana issue on 20 April. The collective also urged anti-prohibition activists to change their profile pictures on social media sites to show their support for OpCannabis.

"We have heard and we have watched your government lie and deceive you on all the dangers of cannabis," the group says in a video posted on YouTube. "Anonymous will begin its support for the legalisation of marijuana on 20 April 20. Show support by making your profile pictures green this 20 April on your social network profiles."

The issue of legalising marijuana surfaced on the international stage in March, when the presidents of Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador Columbia and Mexico issued a joint statement to visiting US Vice President Joe Biden, asking him to open up the discussion on legalising drugs.

Colorado secretary of state Scott Gessler certified an initiative for the state's 6 November general election that legalises possession of marijuana for personal use by adults aged 21 and over. Both Colorado and Washington have proposed legalisation to legalise marijuana in 2012 and other states plan to follow the move.

More than 50 percent of Americans support the legalisation of marijuana, according to a Gallup poll. But candidates for the presidency have yet to adopt the issue as a plank of their election platforms.

For further news on Anonymous's recent activities, check out the IBTimes UK Cyber Warfare section.