Richard Branson: Rethinking Drug Laws in a New Global Context


Virgin boss published a special column calling on CND members to endorse World Health Organization recommendations

"I hope the committee will stand on the right side of science, public health and history," he said on the Virgin blog. As much of the world's attention is focused on the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election and the transition of power to President-elect Biden, I was excited to see some of the other U.S. election results from this year. Voters in several states have adopted reasonable drug policy reforms that will dramatically change people's lives, ease the burden on criminal justice systems, improve public health, and ultimately save lives.

In Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota, voters approved the regulated sale of recreational cannabis, continuing a trend that has lasted for several years, bringing the total number of states in the United States that allow recreational cannabis to 15.

The people of Oregon have taken a significant step forward and supported a voting initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of all currently illegal drugs for personal use. This initiative followed in Portugal's footsteps, where decriminalization in 2001 resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of drug-related deaths, as well as infections like HIV and hepatitis C.

The failure of the war on drugs has done nothing to reduce the illegal trade

News out of Oregon shows voters and policymakers are finally realizing the grim reality of drug policy, as usual. After nearly six decades of prohibition and relentless criminalization of drug users, the failure of the war on drugs has done nothing to curb the illegal drug trade. This global trade represents at least 350 billion dollars a year and is entirely controlled by criminal organizations. The drug wars have claimed millions of lives and wasted billions of dollars in public resources. To make matters worse, the arrival of new, more potent drugs like fentanyl has led to new spikes in drug overdoses and deaths around the world, showing once again a tough attitude to l The drugs issue, which puts repression and prosecution ahead of public health, is not working.

For the past nine years, I have had the privilege of serving on the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a high-level group of former leaders from governments, civil society and the world of business. My fellow Commissioners and I have long argued that the only solution to stem the tide is to prioritize harm reduction and promote decriminalization and, better yet, the regulated sale of some, if not all, drugs today. illegal.

The famous owner of Virgin also spoke in favor of cannabis in front of an audience made up mainly of entrepreneurs and investors, while offering an unusual recommendation to parents.

UN might recognize cannabis as medically beneficial

Next week, UN member states will meet in Vienna for an important session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the intergovernmental forum where discussions on the direction and content of global drug policy take place. The item on the agenda is a vote on the reclassification of cannabis. What appears to be a tedious bureaucratic exercise has enormous significance in correcting a damaging historical error. For decades, without a credible scientific basis, cannabis has been listed as a substance of negligible medical or therapeutic value and considered to be as harmful as heroin or cocaine.

After a long overdue scientific review, the World Health Organization has recommended a limited reclassification that would at least recognize the enormous therapeutic potential of cannabis. A positive vote in favor of removing cannabis from the strictest list would indicate that the international drug control system, traditionally a driver of repressive drug policies, may be able to reflect the ever faster reforms that are taking place. in the field. I hope the CND will side with science, public health and history.

WHO recommendations on cannabis and cannabis-related substances

  • 5.1 Remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Table IV of the 1961 Convention
  • 5.2.1 Add dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-THC) to Appendix I of the 1961 Convention
  • 5.2.2 If point 5.2.1 is adopted: Delete dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-THC) from Table II of the 1971 Convention
  • 5.3.1 If point 5.2.1 is adopted: Add tetrahydrocannabinol to Annex I of the Convention
  • 5.3.2 If point 5.3.1 is adopted: Delete tetrahydrocannabinol from Annex I of the 1971 Convention
  • 5.4 Remove cannabis extracts and tinctures from Annex I of the 1961 Convention
  • 5.5 Ajouter une note de bas de page sur les préparations de cannabidiol à L’annexe I de la Convention de 1961 doit se lire comme suit « Préparations contenant principalement du cannabidiol et pas plus de 0,2 % du delta-9-tétrahydrocannabinol ne sont pas sous contrôle international ».
  • 5.6 Add preparations containing dronabinol, produced either by chemical synthesis or in the form of cannabis preparations which are composed like pharmaceutical preparations with one or more other ingredients and in such a way that dronabinol cannot be recovered by means easily available or in a yield which constitute a risk to public health, in Annex III of the 1961 Convention
Tags : CNDDrugLawWHOUNProhibition

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