Infamous billionaire Richard Branson has made an extraordinary claim about drug decriminalisation.
The Virgin founder and supremo has suggested that that United Nations is about to launch a strong push for drug decriminalisation across the planet.
Branson stated in a blog post on his own Virgin website that the intergovernmental organization tasked with promoting international co-operation will press for governments of all countries to end the so-called War on Drugs in the foreseeable future.
Central to this policy would be the end of the possession and usage of illegal substances being considered a criminal offence.
Branson particularly pointed to a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which dramatically changed the stance of the organisation on drug control.
According to Branson, the released statement has already been distributed to much of the world’s media under embargo.
And he himself had gone public with the plan in order to put pressure on the United Nations to bow to public pressure.
Branson described the decriminalisation of drugs as an important move, and pointed to the fact that the aforementioned war on drugs has had hugely negative societal effects.
Speaking in his blog post, Branson stated that the UN was preparing to declare “unequivocally that criminalisation is harmful unnecessary and disproportionate”.
Branson also claimed that a document changing the UN stance on drug control was supposed to be released at a conference in Malaysia on Sunday, but that this had now been delayed.
“As I’m writing this I am hearing that at least one government is putting an inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC,” Branson wrote. ”Let us hope the UNODC, a global organisation that is part of the UN and supposed to do what is right for the people of the world, does not do a remarkable volte-face at the last possible moment and bow to pressure by not going ahead with this important move. The war on drugs has done too much damage to too many people already.”
Drug decriminalisation has been advocated by many individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds for many years.
In particular, the authoritarian approach to drug possession in the United States has been widely criticised, and is often cited as the major reason for the vast and disproportionate prison population in the country.
As a response to this unsatisfactory situation, numerous US states have recently decriminalised cannabis, following the policy of such pioneering European countries as the Netherlands.
However, regardless of the legitimacy of decriminalising drugs, there is no doubt that enforcing this policy in relation to all illegal drugs would be a monumental change in the way that society responds to such substances.
Nonetheless, the arguments against a prohibitive view to drug possession in favour of support and counselling for addicts, as opposed to treating them as criminals, appear to be irrefutable.
But in an eleventh hour twist to the issue, the BBC reported that the United Nations had shelved the report after pressure from an unnamed country.
Speculation is rife that the United States has influenced the decision.