Washington D.C. — According to mogul, Sir Richard Branson, the United Nations is on the verge of calling for governments around the world to end the “war on drugs” by decriminalizing the use and possession of illicit narcotics.
Within hours of Branson's claim, however, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) made it clear that this was an “unfortunate misunderstanding" over the leaked briefing papers written by one of its senior officials. (See the documents below.)
In a surprise post on Virgin's website the entrepreneur and drug campaigner said the UNODC is about to announce a “refreshing shift” in direction.
Branson claims he broke a global media embargo to make the announcement, as the news was due to have been launched at a conference on Sunday. The Virgin chief said he feared the UN would bow to political pressure and withdraw the statement at the last minute.
“In an as-yet unreleased statement circulated to the BBC, myself and others, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which has shaped much of global drug policy for decades, calls on governments around the world to decriminalize drug use and possession for personal consumption for all drugs,” Branson wrote.
“This is a refreshing shift that could go a long way to finally end the needless criminalization of millions of drug users around the world. The UNODC document was due to be launched at the International Harm reduction conference in Malaysia yesterday.”
Branson went on to say that at least one government was already putting an “inordinate amount of pressure” on the UNODC over the announcement.
“Let us hope the UNODC, a global 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,” he said.
“The war on drugs has done too much damage to too many people already.”
"You may have seen him on the pages of Maxim, or during one of his many appearances on CNN, Fox News and Spike TV. He’s the cop who turned against the drug war. In American pop culture right now, there’s nobody quite like him. As one of the former top drug cops working the Texas highways, he was ferocious, bringing down hundreds of people for possessing even tiny amounts of an illegal substance. In his new life as a humanitarian crusader and activist filmmaker, he’s just as ferocious. Cooper is on a mission to free America’s pot prisoners. In the terminology of war, Barry is an insurgent, lobbing bombs into the fourth estate as his form of penance for all the people he put behind bars on drug offenses.”—True/Slant Barry recently starred with Woody Harrelson, 50 Cent, Eminem and Susan Sarandon in the anti drug war documentary, “How To Make Money Selling Drugs.” His internet fame via his website NeverGetBusted.com has received global attention by being reported in Rolling Stones, High Times, a feature in Maxim Magazine and a front cover feature in Cannabis Culture and the Texas Observer. His story was picked as a feature on NPR’s, This American Life. He has been a guest on scores of cable news channels discussing the Drug War. He has also appeared as a drug and legal expert in five episodes of SPIKE TV’s reality show, MANSWERS.