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Sir Richard Branson, one of the world’s most successful businessmen, says he obtained a copy of a UN report in which the organization plans to recommend that member nations decriminalize all drugs.

Richard Branson - GCDP
(Photo Credit: Global Commission on Drug Policy)

The English entrepreneur says he was shown a document published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in which the organization plans to change its official position on international drug policy. Branson, who is known for building an international business empire from a single-location record store, first broke the news on his website, Virgin.com in a post titled “Finally – a change in course on drug policy”.

In his post, he said, “My colleagues on the Global Commission on Drug Policy and I could not be more delighted.” Branson is well-known for being progressive and an outspoken critic of the criminalization of drug possession and use. He called the report an “as-yet unreleased statement” that was sent to him, the BBC, and others.

Branson shared the information with several reporters in what he called “embargoed interview” with the hope that the UN does not change their mind about releasing the position to the public. The report published by the UNODC, “which has shaped much of global drug policy for decades, call on governments around the world to decriminalise [decriminalize] drug use and possession for personal consumption for all drugs.”

The post on Virgin.com ends with the statement, “Let us hope the UNODC, a global organisation [organization] 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.”

The coming months will show whether the UN makes groundbreaking progress in ending the war on drugs.

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