The United Nations is on the verge of issuing a call for all governments to decriminalize the possession and use of all drugs, according to global businessman Richard Branson, claimed a new report in the Guardian, which added that Branson stated that the UN’s decriminalization stance is outlined in an unreleased, embargoed statement by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
In a statement on the Virgin website, Branson said he was breaking the embargo on the UN’s release because he feared that political pressure on the UNODC would lead to the statement being withdrawn.
“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,” Branson stated, according to the Guardian’s report.
“But as I’m writing this, I am hearing that at least one government is putting an inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC. 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 was quoted in the article.
Branson, who sits on the Global Commission on Drug Policy, said the as-yet unreleased UNODC statement, which he had seen on an embargoed basis, was due to have been launched at an international harm-reduction conference in Malaysia on Sunday, the Guardian claimed.
In a related Daily Mail article, Branson claimed that countries like Portugal, where decriminalization has been tried, had seen a “significant reduction in drug-related deaths.”
“I hope this groundbreaking news will empower and embolden governments everywhere … to do the right thing and consider a different course in drug policy,” Branson’s statement was quoted by the Daily Mail.