Billionaire Richard Branson: The ‘War on Drugs’ Has Been An “Abject Failure”

Billionaire businessman Richard Branson last week spoke on CNN against the ‘War on Drugs’, labeling it “an abject failure”. Speaking in purely business terms, Branson said that if he “had a company that had failed for 60 years I would have closed it down 59 years ago”. He went on to cite the likes of Portugal, a country that has achieved success by treating those with drug problems, rather than punishing them (and thus all those connected to them) through incarceration.

Branson’s interview was related to his attendance and participation in a screening of the documentary Breaking The Taboo (trailer above) at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The film explores the conclusion reached by the Global Commission on Drug Policy in 2011 that drug liberalization is the best approach in dealing with drug policy, and features interviews with a number of former heads of state, including US Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso:

The War on Drugs has failed. After 50 years of prohibition, illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world after food and oil, all in the control of criminals. Drugs are cheaper and more available than ever before. Millions of people are in prison for drugs offences. Corruption and violence, especially in producer and transit countries, endangers democracy. Tens of thousands of people die each year in drug wars.

Improving our drug policies is one of the key policy challenges of our time. The time for action is now.

Breaking the Taboo is available to purchase from iTunes.

Editor
  1. Failing Company

    Branson said that if he "had a company that had failed for 60 years I would have closed it down 59 years ago".

    Well I'm sure the people working for the DEA doesn't see it as an abject failure –and it hasn't been… FOR THEM.

    1. Newsworthy
      [quote=pov]lol. So when a very wealthy person states what’s long been obvious to anyone with a shred of objectivity it’s newsworthy?[/quote]

      It’s newsworthy because Branson has clout in the political and financial worlds. And he’s not just off-handedly saying it, he’s actively financially backing initiatives such as this film and getting involved in everything from government commissions to media events in order to educate others about the reality of the ‘war on drugs’.

      Like it or not, change from the status quo requires pressure in certain areas, more than just me and you knowing the answer and tweeting about it. Branson may have the ability to hit some of those pressure points, or at least begin massaging them.

      So yes, I consider it newsworthy.

      1. Branson
        [quote=Greg]
        It’s newsworthy because Branson has clout in the political and financial worlds.

        []
        So yes, I consider it newsworthy.[/quote]

        I see. So when a person is wealthy *and* politically connected then it’s newsworthy?

        lol. I’m just poking at you in fun :)You explained clearly – even though you could have just told me to bugger off – why you consider his grasp of the obvious as important.

        The thing is that many less wealthy but more politically connected people have said so for years – and little has changed. The “war on drugs” is a huge industry and those financially benefiting from it aren’t going to easily let that go.

  2. They’re not the only ones
    In response to Red Pill Junkie:

    A point made by Mike Ruppert in the essential “Crossing the Rubicon” is that all this drug money is laundered off the books by banks. So, billions of dollars in CASH (not abstract financial instruments) is kept flowing into the coffers, off-the-books, which is invaluable as a tax and oversight-free source of profit. It is obviously in the interest of the banks to maintain this arrangement.

    NOT to mention the billions, potentially trillions, of dollars in lost future profits from pharmaceutical products replaced by customer-grown marijuana. Which, as cutting-edge research is showing, could be a wide-range of pharmaceuticals, from the obvious anti-nausea applications to HIV and cancer TREATMENT.

    So our balance is: trillions of dollars for the people already in charge, OR, compassion and human decency. Not hard to see why such an illogical arrangement is still in place.

    1. Marijuana self medication is
      Marijuana self medication is a huge threat to Big Pharma. They are shaking in their boots about MJ. There are plenty of other modalities of treatment and maintenance equally threatening – orgonite being the one I am actively involved with. Ormus is another.

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