Richard Branson on C10 Drug Laws: “It’s Just Not The Answer”

Over the past year and a half, Sir Richard Branson has done a lot (Virgin Galactic, for instance), but he’s also done a lot of work with an international group reviewing drug laws. After looking at countries around the world, Branson says that harsher penalties for minor drug offences isn’t the way to cut crime or drug usage. Instead, countries should experiment and make drug use a public health issue, not a criminal one.

“When we heard Canada was thinking of going completely the opposite — they couldn’t have done the research into the subject,” Branson said in a telephone interview from Toronto, where he was in town to talk polar bear conservation.

After writing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and senators last week about the Tories’ omnibus crime bill, Branson said Tuesday that when bill C-10 receives Royal Assent

(likely sometime this week), Canada will push through a law that the Global Commission on Drug Policy believes will do more harm than good for the country. And Branson pointed out that some members of the commission are right-wing politicians, ”just as right-wing as any of the Canadian politicians pushing this through.”

“It just means that politicians are going to be punishing young people and putting young people in prison is horrendous. You really are pushing Canada back into the dark ages,” Branson said. “Horrendous things happen in prison. It’s just not the answer.”

When the letter was made public last week, the government indicated that it didn’t see any need to amend the bill. This is what Julie Di Mambro, a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, told Postmedia News:

“The Safe Streets and Communities Act goes after the source of the illicit drug trade — the drug traffickers. The kinds of offenders we are targeting are those who are involved in exploiting the addictions of others for personal profit.”

Bill C-10 returned to the House of Commons Tuesday after passing through the Senate last week. The Senate made six amendments to the Safe Streets and Communities Act, all clarifying rules about what constituted terrorist activities, supporting terrorism and allowing victims of terrorism to sue the groups or supporting states responsible for the acts. The amendments were originally proposed by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, but the amendments had to be introduced in the Senate because the government waited too long in the legislative process to make changes to its bill.

However, the bill didn’t receive an easy ride to passing the Senate, which sat until just past midnight Friday morning to pass C-10. One Tory senator voted against the bill, saying that he couldn’t agree with the drug provisions in the billSen. Pierre Claude Nolin said those drug provisions, which included mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking for people convicted of growing as few as six marijuana plants, was counter to reasearch “that increasing enforcement efforts in urban centres leads to more, not less, violence.”

Branson agreed.

“We’ve studied the war on drugs and try to look at the best approach. The war on drugs has obviously patently failed,” he said.

“Why punish the young? The way I’d like to talk to a politician, if it was your son… would you recommend prison? And none of them would.”

Countries that have taken a public health approach to the issue of drugs (think about the supervised injection site Insite in Vancouver) have found that there has been a decrease in crime and drug use, Branson said. He pointed to countries such as Portugal that have panels that help ween people off of hard drugs through health care services.

“The end result has been a massive decrease in crime,” Branson said. “There’s been a massive decrease in HIV infections…heroine addcits and a smallish, but a decrease in usage of marijuana and other drugs.”

Now, Branson was quick to say that he’s not for the legalization of marijuana. He supports the idea of decriminalizing its use, but said it’s up to individual countries to experiment with ways to combat heavy drug use and the crime associated with it.

“It definitely should be decriminalized,” Branson said. “Ultimately, I”m pretty sure that marijuana will be treated just like alcohol.”

– Article from Canada.com.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    Solar blast could have earthly impact

    http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/07/10596987-solar-blast-could-have-earthly-impact?ocid=ansmsnbc11

    Updated 4:40 p.m. ET March 7: The sun unleashed one of the biggest flares ever seen during its current activity cycle late Tuesday — an X5.4-class outburst strong enough to trigger a radio blackout. The resulting geomagnetic storm could affect electrical grids, communication links, satellite navigation systems and airline schedules over the next couple of days.

    The outburst at 7:24 p.m. ET was followed about an hour later by an X1.3-class blast. Solar flares are rated on a letter-plus-number scale, with X being the most powerful category. Usually the numbers run from 1 to 9, but X-class flares can run higher.

  2. Anonymous on

    this is how its done, someone from the controlling class needs to step up and say….’its just not working and we need to change’.Haza for Mr.Branson, you are truly a good knight.but the sad fact of this whole thing rest in the hands of the US…and they are not going to give up there cash cow so easy…sigh. i for see a war with south America first before the US will lets go of the strangle hold on the drug war.

    P.S
    Obama is a PoS and Harper as well,you both make the baby Jesus cry….8)

    P.P.S.
    To the righteous and suffering keep up the good fight…
    ” am going to put on an iron shirt and chase satin off the earth,oh yeah!”

  3. Anonymous on

    RICHARD BRANSON AND MARIA BARTIROMO HELD TO GOOD SAMARITAN LAW FOR WEED LYME CANCER CRIME

    Richard Branson Teaches Maria Bartiromo How To Play Pool
    CAPTION CONTEST:
    Julia La Roche|March 05, 2012

    CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo Tweeted this gem of a picture showing Richard Branson (Umm…is he blushing?) teaching the anchor how to play pool at the JFK Virgin Club/Spa.

    We’ll have to wait until this weekend’s edition of “The Wall Street Journal Report” to find out exactly why the billionaire is using the classic “teach her how to play pool” move on the Money Honey.

    Subject: SPACE TIME GOD MARK – $93,300,000,000,000.00 – THANKS MR. RATIGAN
    SUPER GREAT THANKS TO DYLAN RATIGAN FOR HELPING WITH THE MATH AND DISCUSSING A CARBON TAX SHUFFLE WITH STOCK OPTIONS AS A FORM OF PAYMENT OPTION FOR CITIZENS – TRIBES ARE LISTENING.
    311,000,000 CITIZENS MULTIPLIED BY A BLANKET SETTLEMENT AMOUNT OF $300,000.00 USD PER CITIZEN EQUATING THE AMOUNT OF $93,300,000,000,000.00 FOR UNLAWFUL USE OF BIO WAR.

    If any other disease had stricken so many people, the medical community would be scurrying for knowledge, scrambling for cures or rushing to warn patients (think swine flu).

    But more important is the need for public health community to treat this disease like the epidemic it is, and start putting real resources into educating the public and the medical profession about how to identify it, treat it, and prevent it.

    Cannabis plant extracts can effectively fight drug-resistant bacteria.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=5787866&page=1

    Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/np8002673?journalCode=jnprdf&quickLinkVolume=71&quickLinkPage=1427&volume=71

    Why is Lyme Disease Not JUST a Tick-Borne Disease Any More?
    Posted By Dr. Mercola | February 05 2012 | 218,853 views

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/05/dr-dietrich-klinghardt-on-lyme-disease.aspx?e_cid=20120205_SNL_Art_1

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/26/obama-war-on-weed.aspx?e_cid=20111126_DNL_art_1

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/05/07/medical-marijuana-becoming-blockbuster-drug.aspx

    KEY BACKGROUND:

    http://www.thehumansideoflyme.net/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhdBNmCANzk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95eF4Dn3CL0

    http://www.underourskin.com/

  4. ROBERTBERTRANDGRIFFITH on

    Mar 31 use every social media resource to help get your needed benefit

    March 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

    We are assaulted and must respond to the Lyme Plague ( see plum island conspiracy theory by Jesse Ventura the former governor of Minnesota ).
    Look at the time date action of the making of marijuana illegal.

    We are surviving a living holocaust.

    Why are we not using the 1946 tort law to make claim for the assault by the government?

    Please please use whats left of your mind and living will while you can.
    March 7, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I believe your first hand knowledge of the degree of inability to respond to reasonable fact has lead to the necessity of a logical conclusion. We have an international problem with the US military facing a human rights violation for war crimes against citizens of many nations as a result of biological war.
    The cannabis community realizes the human rights violations and is focusing on utilizing the united nations human rights efforts to plea the case and facilitate international resolve.

    Submitted by Anonymous () on Thu, 03/31/2011 – 04:06.