Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group, leaked an unpublished United Nations’s draft policy document on Virgin.com that pertains to internationally decriminalizing drugs from the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The document says that decriminalizing drugs would be consistent with international law.
“My colleagues on the Global Commission on Drug Policy and I could not be more delighted,” wrote Branson about the leaked document. He added that “together with countless other tireless advocates, I’ve for years argued that we should treat drug use as a health issue, not as a crime. While the vast majority of recreational drug users never experience any problems, people who struggle with drug addiction deserve access to treatment, not a prison cell.”
The UNODC was designed to help member states fight against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism. The office’s briefing paper clarifies their stance on how countries should approach drug policies, saying that decriminalizing drug use and possession for personal consumption “is consistent with international drug control conventions and may be required to meet obligations under international human rights law.”
A UNODC spokesman stated: “The briefing paper on decriminalization mentioned in many of today’s media reports, and intended for dissemination and discussion at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, is neither a final nor formal document from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and cannot be read as a statement of UNODC policy.”