Richard Branson was part of a team that included Russell Brand, Julian Assange and former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the first ever live global debate on ending the war on drugs this week.
Branson does not believe the current war on drugs is effective, and wants to find ways of more effectively combating drug use and drug related crime.
“We spent over two hours debating with those against ending the war on drugs, led by the remarkably erudite former governor of New York Eliot Spitzer,” he blogged following the debate. "Our side, led by Geoffrey Robertson QC, put forward a strong case for reforming outdated drug laws and, as the Global Drug Commission has recommended, trying new approaches to tackling the problems.
“We believe that drug issues must be seen as a health problem rather than a criminal one. The other side, eloquently in many cases (Lord Ian Blair, Antonio Maria Costa), absurdly in others (Peter Hitchens!) are sadly still determined to see drug users sent to jail rather than helped.
“However, there was broad agreement that there needs to be renewed focus and debate on the drugs issue and hopefully this innovative event has helped to shine a light on a critical situation.
“At the start of the debate, 92% of respondents globally agreed that it is time to end the war on drugs – after the debate this had increased to 95%. I look forward to seeing the debate continue around the world and urge governments to take notice of the clear desire for change, and to end the senseless war on drugs.”