The UN may be about to call on the governments of all countries to end the “war on drugs” and decriminilise the use and possession of all illegal substances.
In an extraordinary post on his Virgin website, Richard Branson said he had been showed a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which dramatically changed the organisation’s stance on drug control.
He said the “as-yet unreleased statement” had been sent to some of the world’s media under embargo, but the businessman has gone public with it early for fear the UN will “bow to pressure by not going ahead with this important move”.
The UN was preparing to declare “unequivocally that criminalisation is harmful unnecessary and disproportionate”, Branson wrote. A document changing the UN stance on drug control was supposed to be released at a conference in Malaysia on Sunday, he said, but that has 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,” he said. “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.”