Sir Richard Branson has published an article which makes the case for radical reforms to the UK drug policy in The Daily Telegraph (Link).
Last November, the entrepreneur was one of a number of public figures to sign a letter calling for drugs to be decriminalised.
In December he spoke up about the issue on his blog.
Today he appears in front of the Home Affairs Select committee’s enquiry into drug policy. (Link)
The committee’s previous inquiry in 2002, when David Cameron was on the committee, said drug use was a “passing phase” for many young people which “rarely results in any long-term harm”.
Speaking more than 10 years ago, Mr Cameron added that the UK’s drugs policy had “been failing for decades” and he hoped the report would “encourage fresh thinking and a new approach”.
Branson is clearly hoping that with Cameron in charge, this could be an opportunity to make some real changes.
Cause for hope and celebration? Not really…
The 2002 committee concluded that ministers needed to lobby for the loosening of international treaties which prohibit withdrawing.
Since drug-policy has only become stricter since the 2002 committee, and UK politicians have taken no steps to remove the star-spangled phallus from their mouths, we can assume the current committee will achieve nothing since the UK is still bound by various international treaties which prevent us changing our own laws.
The United States will not let us withdraw from the War on Drugs, no matter how disastrous it is for our country and the civil liberties of British people. Cameron is not an idiot, he must recognise the truth of Sir Branson’s words… but he is a coward, and he will not change a thing.
No matter how many committees you hold. No matter who speaks in them. Nothing will change because America will not let it change. In ten years time we will have another committee, who will repeat the same solid arguments, with even more evidence, and I think I can predict the outcome already.
The Home Office has stated that it has no intention of ending prohibition… no matter what evidence it is presented with, no matter how strong the arguments for decriminalisation, no matter how many people suffer because of its bad policies.
100,000 people arrested in Britain each year, with 75,000 of them being given criminal records – business as usual in the 51st state.