The Virgin group founder says America’s approach to illegal drugs is ‘racist’ and calls for legalisation of marijuana
“The fundamental difference [in drug policy] in America is that it is a war against black people. 85 percent of people who go to prison for drug use in America are black people. They don’t take more drugs, but it’s a racist law against black people in America,” he said.
“The law should be changed. You’ve got something like 1.5 million people in American jails languishing for taking drugs and that is wrong,” said Branson, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP). “Those people would be much better being out in society, being helped if they have drug problem, getting off the problem.”
The billionaire entrepreneur, fresh from his triumph this week over the UK government, was in New York as guest editor at the newspaper. Earlier this year, The Week reported he called for an end to the “failed war on drugs” in his capacity as GDCP member.
“I am part of the global commission on drugs, and it consists of 15 ex-presidents from South America, it consists of people like Kofi Annan, Paul Volcker, George Schultz, and ex-presidents from Switzerland and Greece and other places,” he told the paper.
“And we just spent two years looking at the war on drugs and it is obvious it failed. Thousands of people in South Africa are killed every year, more and more people are sent to prison and the amount of people using drugs increases year over year.”
Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports that Branson has written an open letter calling on US political parties to back the legalisation of marijuana. “The US currently spends $51 billion – per year – on the war on drugs,” he notes.
“That’s double what Apple profited last year. It’s a horribly depressing number when you think how far even a fraction of that money would have gone if invested in prevention and rehabilitation efforts.
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