U.N. to call for worldwide decriminalization?

This could be huge.

UN to call on governments around the world to decriminalise all drugs, says Richard Branson

The UN may be about to call on the governments of all countries to end the “war on drugs” and decriminilise the use and possession of all illegal substances.

In an extraordinary post on his Virgin website, Richard Branson said he had been showed a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which dramatically changed the organisation’s stance on drug control.

He said the “as-yet unreleased statement” had been sent to some of the world’s media under embargo, but the businessman has gone public with it early for fear the UN will “bow to pressure by not going ahead with this important move”.

The UN was preparing to declare “unequivocally that criminalisation is harmful unnecessary and disproportionate”, Branson wrote. A document changing the UN stance on drug control was supposed to be released at a conference in Malaysia on Sunday, he said, but that has now been delayed.

“As I’m writing this I am hearing that at least one government is putting an inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC,” he said. “Let us hope the UNODC, a global organisation 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. The war on drugs has done too much damage to too many people already.”

Here’s the press release from Branson.

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22 Responses to U.N. to call for worldwide decriminalization?

  1. N.T. Greene says:

    From what I’ve read on the net, they’ve already backpedaled from this.

    Political pressure indeed… But the bell has doggone rung.

    • jean valjean says:

      Got any links?

      • N.T. Greene says:


        Though, let’s be real here: Branson’s break on this story seems to be a lot bigger news than the UN’s backpedaling on it. That’s revealing in its own way, I think — people have actually gotten excited because of this thing, and whether or not they “officially” release the document at some point, it does exist.

        My bet is that his read on the situation was actually quite good — rather than let them play it under the radar, he forced it into the open air. Because let’s be honest — especially here in the US, we probably wouldn’t have cared what they wrote in a paper for some conference halfway around the world. They wanted to, at best, play this out slowly if at all. Because all they did was tell the goddamn truth, but it is an uncomfortable truth for many.

        “Doesn’t amount to official policy”? Good thing we’ll be having drug policy meetings at the UN level in the not so distant future, right?

      • Servetus says:

        The UNODC pdf document is available for examination here.

        It really was too good to be true, wasn’t it? We need to find out who its single opponent was. Will Branson speak up, please? The Internet would like to declare war on them.

    • B. Snow says:

      Yeah, I bet you almost anything that the government mentioned below is ‘the good olde USA’.

      “As I’m writing this I am hearing that at least one government is putting an inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC,”

      They’ve been talking about a Criminal Justice Reform bill – focused on reducing mandatory minimums for non-violent drug crimes…
      I was wondering why they were bragging on themselves about just how ‘Bipartisan’ it is = LOOK we can pass bipartisan legislation, See *Lookie Here*…

      Like they deserve a damn cookie for -ostensibly- doing their jobs. .

      It seems that in order to get the folks who’d scream bloody hell at any such suggestion – to take this relative baby step = (especially compared to this as yet embargoed policy announcement aka “call” from the UNODC) They actually put in or increased mandatory minimums for other crimes.

      Reform to reduce minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses – Notably: “MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber talks to Anthony Papa of the Drug Policy Alliance, who spent time in prison for a non-violent drug offense.”

      Now in a vacuum this Criminal Justice Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 sounds promising = as a first step, with further steps to follow…

      But, If you watch/listen to them talk about how much of a big deal this is – ‘a major shift in policy’ – you have to ask is this the furthest swing of the pendulum the Nannies will accept?

      I’ll be damned if they try and push this a a major success, and When you’ve got Chuck Grassley praising the bill.

      I think you’re gonna have some old people saying, “Woah that’s enough progress for Now. Let’s give the sky a chance to fall, enthusiasm weaken, and demands for greater more sunstatial changes (Like those by Branson) to fall silent.”

      I just heard it called “The most important federal justice overhaul in a generation”, on TV… And I’m deeply underwhelmed.

      I’m not settling for this language and the concept that these people are “making a mistake” by using drugs.. Particularly when it comes to Cannabis.

      But also including other drugs that – As Branson notes “the vast majority of recreational drug users never experience any problems…” And for “people who struggle with drug addiction, deserve access to treatment, not a prison cell.”

      I strongly believe there must also be proof of a direct harm to others – in order for treatment to be mandatory… Offering it to anyone/everyone is fine. But, forcing it on anyone must be an absolute last resort!

      I’m just not willing not agree with their assertions that recreational drug use is a “mistake”, that we need to be given a chance to not choose to not use – but then punished if we refuse to follow their “Wisdom” indefinitely thereafter.

  2. Daniel Williams says:

    They caved – how UN of them…

  3. Fifth Decade says:

    Not enough time left in life to ‘Get a Life’
    We’ve been Royally Screwed Over.

  4. DdC says:

    Update 18:30 19/10/2015:

    It’s good to see UNODC have now engaged in this issue. However, I hope that they will remain strong in defending and implementing what is a remarkable statement.

    I challenge Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of UNODC, to point out if there is anything in their briefing paper that is inaccurate and to explain why (he should be proud of it). The paper spells out in clear terms and based on extensive evidence: there are strong arguments for treating drugs as a health issue and not imprisoning or otherwise criminalising people for personal use or possession of drugs.

    As I outlined in this interview with Bloomberg, and the Global Commission on Drug Policy has stated for many years, drugs should be treated as a health issue. My great hope is that today’s actions bring that day a little bit closer to reality, so that the millions who continue to be harmed by current policies can be helped instead.

  5. jean valjean says:

    “….. at least one government is putting an inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC…..”
    Bet I can guess who that is….. nice one Botticelli….keep jailing people just like you…..with projection like that, how do you look at yourself in the mirror?

    • B. Snow says:

      I think they would have sent Biden, but he’s busy deciding if he wants to lose a third Presidential election.

  6. DdC says:

    Bernie Sanders Takes On Alan Greenspan in 2003

    Bernie Sanders on The War On Drugs
    (Democratic Debate) Sanders:
    We have to think through war on drugs

  7. Servetus says:

    Decriminalization doesn’t go far enough. The United Nations needs to state a position in which drug consumers are given the same rights as other non-drug-consuming citizens. If someone attacks a drug consumer for their drug preference(s), the person attacked should be entitled to obtain relief by suing or charging the offending antagonist with a hate crime or something else appropriate. That’s what’s known as having a right.

    Drug enforcement has been little more than an organized and institutionalized weapon targeting people for their politics, race, or culture. This makes prohibition a human rights crime, one typically carried out at the instigation of public theocrats, or by those working to gain a demographic, political, and economic hegemony favoring their own individual members and culture. Those who remain ‘drug free’ and therefore ‘pure’, and of course holier than thou, are the ones expected to get the jobs and leadership positions that drug consumers are socially precluded from obtaining.

    Actions taken by the United Nations to decriminalize drugs may also be too little, too late. Tens of millions of people throughout the world have been radicalized by their governments’ approach to drug enforcement. Prohibition has revealed the overall ugly, unfair, stigmatizing, hypocritical tendencies of judicial systems and governments. Drug decriminalization by itself won’t be enough to make the ugliness go away. Legalization will be needed to end the toxicity of the drug war, including an overhaul of many judicial systems throughout the world, as well as compensation to be paid to victims of the drug war.

  8. Apparently Mark Zuckerberg is standing up for the cause of ending the war on drugs after a trip to visit San Quentin:

    “Mark Zuckerberg blasts US marijuana policy, calls for prison reform” http://tinyurl.com/pm6l7yn

    He calls out US marijuana policy for being particularly racially unjust, and writes, “We can’t jail our way to a just society, and our current system isn’t working.”

    There is something very comforting in seeing the 1% standing up for ending this war on drugs fiasco.

  9. DdC says:

    Why Does the UN Help Fund Policies
    That Kill Nonviolent Drug Offenders in Iran?

    Vice October 16, 2015
    …experts say those killed are not limited to high-level drug traffickers, but also include low-level dealers who are some of the most marginalized and impoverished people in the country.

    Looks like they missed the point of
    “alternatives to incarceration”

    UNODC Spokesperson Statement
    Overall, UNODC remains committed to the balanced approach that, in particular, promotes alternatives to incarceration in line with international human rights standards.” lol,snicksnickhehehe…


    “At DEA, our mission is to fight drug trafficking
    in order to make drug abuse the most expensive,
    unpleasant, risky, and disreputable
    form of recreation a person could have.”
    – Donnie Marshall,
    xAdministrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

    “As I’m writing this I am hearing that
    at least one government is putting an
    inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC,”
    ~ Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson

    Exporting DEAmocracy

    “This is part of our global contribution. The drug war has become the preferred foreign policy approach toward controlling much of the world. We export our drug war, our tactics, and, most of all, our DEA.”
    ~ Pete Guither,
    Drug War Rant, 8.24.8

    (Now with offices in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Canada, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, Suriname, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands, Haiti, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Thailand, Mongolia, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caldeonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, Western Samoa, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, Kiribati, Nauru, Philippines, Burma, South Korea, Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Laos, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bahrain, Chad, Dijibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Russia, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Western Sahara, Channel Islands, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Azores, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Gibraltar, Portugal, Principality of Andorra, Spain, Spanish Enclaves (Ceuta & Melilla), Algeria, France, Monaco, Morocco, Tunisia, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Slovak Republic, Ukraine.)

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,hypocrites!
    for you are like whitewashed tombs,
    which outwardly appear beautiful,
    but within they are full of dead men’s bones
    and all uncleanness.” ~ Matthew 23:27

    • DdC says:

      Canada’s Supremes Cower Under DEAth Threats
      ☛ U.S. Warns Against Liberalizing Laws on Pot
      ☛ Canadian Pot Debate Worries U.S. Officials
      ☛ U.S. Government Threatens Canada with Trade Sanctions
      ☛ Loosen Pot Laws and Face Tighter Border U.S. Warns!
      ☛ Drug Czar Talks About Tightening at Border
      ☛ Relaxed Pot Laws May Affect Border
      ☛ Canadian Pot Legislation Could Snarl Border
      ☛ Danger On Our Northern Border
      ☛ Pot Bill Could Bog Down Border
      ☛ U.S. Warns Pot Plan To Clog Border
      ☛ A Border War Over Pot
      ☛ 140 More Agents Will Be Sent To Border
      ☛ Canada, U.S. Bolster Border Security
      ☛ Potent Marijuana, Lax Laws Frustrate U.S. Border
      ☛ Police Smoke Out Cross-Border Marijuana Trade
      ☛ U.S. Faults Canada for Letting Drugs Across Border
      ☛ Marine Anti-Drug Border Patrol Suspended
      ☛ Looking Over the Northern Border
      ☛ Opposite Side of Border, Opposite Pot Issue
      ☛ Border Crossers Fall Victim to Profit-Takers
      ☛ Fired Border Patrol Agent Blames Hemp Bar
      ☛ Italy Police Battle Reefer Madness at Swiss Border
      ☛ Unmanned Planes Tested in Border Watch
      ☛ PM Says No To Looser Drug Laws
      ☛ Canada’s Supreme Court upholds anti-pot laws

      Ganjawar Puppets Cave… again
      ☛ Mexico President Seeks Review of Drug Law
      ☛ Mexico Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Drugs
      For a few days this week, it looked like Mexico was going to decriminalize drug possession, but that ended Wednesday when President Fox rejected the bill under US pressure.
      ☛ Mexico legal-drug bill condemned
      ☛ U.S. Cautious on Mexico Drug Measure
      ☛ Legalizing Drug Use in Mexico Called ‘Reckless’
      ☛ Threats From USA Force Mexico to Drop Decrim Plans
      MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Vicente Fox refused to sign a drug decriminalization bill Wednesday, hours after U.S. officials warned the plan could encourage “drug tourism.” Fox sent the measure back to Congress for changes, but his office did not mention the U.S. criticism.
      US officials have now embarrassed us with both our immediate neighbors by interfering in their internal drug policies.

  10. Duncan20903 says:


    Why in the world would anyone care about the political agenda promulgated by the U.N.? Will the UN send troops into Canada now that it looks like Mr. Harper has been kicked to the curb? What if the Mexican Supreme Court strikes down Mexican cannabis laws later this month?

    It would be just too weird if Mexico and Canada went and de facto re-legalized in the same month… and without explicit permission from the U.S. to do that?

  11. B. Snow says:

    Hey Pete, the comment above seems linked to a site that is…
    Uhm, I’d call it ‘questionable’ to be nice – please check it out when you get a chance.

    Not that I have a personal problem with Equitorial Guinea = But, I can’t tell if it’s really meant to be a guide for freelance writers, or a semi-shady place to outsource college term papers, some sort of plagiarism hub?

    IDK… It could be ‘above board’ = call me cynical.

  12. kaptinemo says:

    Shades of the 1995 WHO report. Which also had major pressure from the US applied to censure it.

    International banksters who got rich from laundering drug money get their back-pocket-change US pols to squash studies whose reasonable, rational results threaten their meal tickets, all under the rubric of ‘public safety’. Same old, same old…but not for much longer.

    • DdC says:

      What the WHO doesn’t want you to know about cannabis

      Is there a word in the dictionary to describe such a cruel and misguided act? Censoring research, sabotaging studies and letting people die, to protect vested ignorance. Psychopaths, Genocidal Maniacs. Murdering Profiteers. Wingnuts.

      United Nations Drug Report Disappointing
      – Report of Ecstasy Drug’s Great Risks Is Retracted
      – Second Ecstasy Study Retracted
      – Joe Biden gets his RAVE Ax

      Making Sure Drugs Kill
      “You Can’t Stop AIDS Without Ending the Drug War”

      They’re coming to take you away Pro ho he he hibitionist
      To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time and you’ll be happy to see those nice men in their clean white coats. They’re coming to take you away Politician. To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle thier thumbs and toes. They’re coming to take you away DEA. Now it’s your home, the one the bank foreclosed. And They’re coming to take you away NIDA. To the loony bin with all you can eat perscription drugs like thorizine, and lithium, and electric shock and insulin. They’re coming to take you away Drug Worriers.

      • kaptinemo says:

        “Is there a word in the dictionary to describe such a cruel and misguided act? Censoring research, sabotaging studies and letting people die, to protect vested ignorance. Psychopaths, Genocidal Maniacs. Murdering Profiteers. Wingnuts.

        Actually, there is one: Lysenkoism. It was guilty of all those sins, and more. All in service to The State.

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