The war on drugs debate continues
- By Richard Branson -
- May 03, 2012
Gratified to see the debate on the drug war is going on across the political spectrum.
The Globe and Mail ran this editorial and a Q and A with yours truly. The WSJ ran an interesting piece by Mark Kleinman of UCLA and others. He says we should focus policies - for alcohol and other drugs - on users who behave badly, like repeat drunk drivers. Those people - a fraction of the 20% who make up the majority of users - should be denied access to alcohol or drugs. I question Kleinman's view that we should not decriminalise or legalise drugs for personal use because that would make use surge. It has not in other countries like Portugal.
Many point to alcohol as the most damaging and widely used drug - but alcohol is celebrated and aggressively marketed. When society turned against cigarettes, use plummeted. Other drugs should be treated like that. And committing a crime while using drugs should carry additional penalties, including a denial of the right to use drugs that is enforced with monitoring and potentially jail. In other words, users who do no harm to others should be left alone and users who harm others should face serious consequences.
It's great to see the debate continuing in the UK too, where Russell Brand recently went before the Select Committee and was both straight talking and amusing. You can watch him talking about why addiction is an illness not a crime over at the BBC.
Will end this post on a positive note: a beautiful photo blog by Boing Boing editor Xeni Jardin, whose treatment for cancer incorporates medical cannabis in both a healing and responsible manner.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group