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War on drugs a failure, decriminalise now: Branson

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there's something about branson that's always rubbed me the wrong way but the brutha is talking sense yo.

check out the SMH poll too, 80% for decriminalisation!

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http://www.smh.com.a...1qem4.html#poll

War on drugs a failure, decriminalise now: Branson

The war on drugs has failed and it's time to decriminalise their use, billionaire British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson says.

And he has been praised by Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith for speaking out on an issue on which "most people will say nothing".

Sir Richard, who is due to appear at a British parliamentary inquiry into drug policy today, wrote in London's Daily Telegraph that political leaders needed to find the courage to speak out against current drug policies.

"Over the past 50 years, more than $1 trillion has been spent fighting this battle, and all we have to show for it is increased drug use, overflowing jails, billions of pounds and dollars of taxpayers' money wasted, and thriving crime syndicates," he wrote.

"It is time for a new approach."

'Alternatives available'

His view is supported by Geoff Gallop, the former premier of Western Australia, who told smh.com.au the use of the words "war on drugs" gave it a military application that provided "a bad way of looking at this issue".

"There are better ways of looking at it and decriminalising use, I think, would be a very good step forward, and then properly regulating supplying and distribution with a view to harm minimisation.

"There is evidence now that alternatives are available which don't have the catastrophic consequences that the critics say and, in fact, have positive consequences in terms of people who abuse drugs and get addicted."

Mr Smith, who said he had discussed this issue with Sir Richard in the past, told smh.com.au the Virgin boss would not have spoken out if he did not feel strongly about it.

"I believe Richard Branson is a very decent person. He would not write that unless he has really thought about it," Mr Smith said.

"And he realises there is downside as well as an upside. It's what you do on balance. Obviously what we are doing now is not succeeding.

"I admire him because it is completely out of left field and he has no financial interest in this. He will be attacked and criticised. But he is saying it how it is. He is showing some real leadership in this matter and I think that's important."

'Cutting consumption and reducing harm'

Sir Richard argued for a move away from prohibition and enforcement towards a focus on cutting consumption and reducing harm, saying that a study by the Global Commission for Drug Policy - which he was a part of - on international drug policies over the past 50 years revealed the failure of current measures.

"First, prohibition and enforcement efforts have failed to dent the production and distribution of drugs in any part of the world. Second, the threat of arrest and punishment has had no significant deterrent effect on drug use.

"We need a debate on how policy can cut consumption and reduce harm, rather than inflammatory scaremongering. It is not about supporting drug use; it is about solving a crisis."

Sir Richard wrote that while it was not yet known which policies would work best, lawmakers all over the world should be encouraged to experiment with new policies, citing some steps taken by Switzerland and Portugal.

"Following examples such as these and embracing a regulated drugs market that is tightly controlled and complemented by treatment - not incarceration - for those with drug problems will cost taxpayers a lot less."

Sir Richard said the methods to evaluate such policies should also be radically changed - with the focus on outcomes instead of on arrests, prosecutions and drug seizures, "which turn out to have little impact on levels of drug use or crime".

"We should instead measure the outcomes in the same way that a business would measure the results of a new ad campaign.

"That means studying things like the number of victims of drug-related violence and intimidation, levels of corruption connected to the drug market, the amount of crime connected to drug use, and the prevalence of dependence, drug-related mortality and HIV infection."

'Political nervousness'

Mr Smith said while he generally agreed with Sir Richard's opinions, he believed it would be almost impossible for people to change their views on the criminalisation of drug use.

"I think he's probably right but I don't think it will happen. We all say, if drugs are illegal we should be able to stop them."

But Dr Gallop said increased dialogue in civil society would help open up the debate.

He said Australia had been taking some "forward steps", through measures such as needle exchange programs, methadone programs, and in moves towards the decriminalisation of cannabis.

"But on the fundamental point of decriminalising use, there has been a hesitation and a political nervousness about it.

"And so I think the argument needs to be had and politicians then can perhaps find a little more relaxed about changing the law and not suffering any political consequences. I think the case for reform needs more movement within civil society.

"The public worry about these things. There are parents, they have cousins who are affected by it, so any government has to ensure people there are benefits and there's a lot of evidence to show that can happen."

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wake the fuck up!

pretty keen for this to actually happen.

thanks for posting

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pretty keen for this to actually happen.

hmm. certainly wont happen in this country for another 10 years at least. not on a federal level.

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good ol sunburnt cuntry meat pie beer footy utes fuck off we're full down under.

such forward thinkers us aussies, way ahead of our time.

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Poll: Where do you stand on decriminalising drugs?

For81%

Against10%

Undecided9%

Total votes: 9520.

Lookin' good!

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I can't see Richard Brandson the entreupeneur doing something this public without a financial reason.

edit: maybe he wants to get the contract for treatment facilities?

besides the obvious down the track selling virgin branded drugs

Edited by Distracted

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I can't see Richard Brandson the entreupeneur doing something this public without a financial reason.

edit: maybe he wants to get the contract for treatment facilities?

besides the obvious down the track selling virgin branded drugs

he already said

Virgin boss Richard Branson said last night that he would sell legalized cannabis in his stores but not tobacco because it is too dangerous.

He said his company would not want to get involved in selling ordinary cigarettes - but he would not rule out promoting cannabis if the law allowed it because it was probably less harmful than tobacco.

The millionaire businessman said that to encourage youngsters to smoke would be ‘immoral’. But although he was not advocating the sale of cannabis if it was legalised, he added: "If a cigarette company started selling it at too high a price, I’m sure we’d be in there."

legalize in 10 years your kidding right oh you mean 10 years after America legalizes

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cannabis is probably safer than cigarettes? fo reeell?

no fucking shit cunt mother fucker

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just being a douche man.

"but he would not rule out promoting cannabis if the law allowed it because it was probably less harmful than tobacco."

but clearly cannabis is much safer than tobacco, therefore the quote above seems rather stupid.

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Very true it is much safer. But it is good that he is voicing the issue. If only people would seek this knowledge for themselves instead of going "well if my favourite dumbass celebrity said it I must be true"

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yes, agreed

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