Sir Richard Branson: decriminalise drugs

Sir Richard Branson will call for drug use to be decriminalised as he gives evidence to a Westminster select committee this week.

In June a group of celebrities, including Dame Judi Dench, sparked outrage after making a similar plea to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Opponents blasted the proposal as clueless, saying the celebs were sending out a dangerous message that drugs were safe.


Tommorow Sir Richard will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee during its first inquiry session on drugs policy.

Committee Chair Keith Vaz MP commented: “Drugs can be a hugely controversial issue but we hope that this will be the start of a balanced, well-reasoned inquiry.”

Last year a Home Office spokesman said they had “no intention of liberalising our drugs laws” and that “giving people a green light to possess drugs through decriminalisation is clearly not the answer”.


In 2004 the previous Government sparked a storm of protest by downgrading cannabis from a class B drug to a class C.

The policy proved to be a disaster and the Government was forced to revert cannabis to class B.

Sir Richard is one of the Commissioners for the Global Commission on Drugs Policy, whose report last year declared: “End the criminalisation, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others”.

In response to the interest generated by the inquiry into drugs policy, the Home Affairs Select Committee has extended the deadline for written submissions to 7 February 2012.