Richard Branson: ‘Fight to Legalize It’

Published on October 17, 2016 · Last updated July 28, 2020
FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2015, file photo, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and Virgin Unite, participates in a discussion on "Looking to the Next Frontier" at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. The Chicago Tribune reports Branson told a Chicago audience on July 26, 2016, that parents should smoke marijuana with their children. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson told attendees at a San Francisco cannabis conference this weekend that he was in the mood to “take a spliff or two”—and that most of the world is ready for legal consumption, too.

“It has enormous potential with the ability to do a lot of good.”

Referencing the work he’s done over the past five years on the Global Commission on Drug Policy, serving alongside former U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan and other world leaders, Branson called for the decriminalization of drugs and for cannabis to be legalized worldwide.

“That’s the only way of sorting out the problems that come with drugs, [from] not regulating and leaving it up to the underworld to supply drugs,” he said. “Our commission has worked really quite hard on that. We’ve had some successes and some massive failures, we’re going to keep going until we get governments to see otherwise.”

Branson, who has stakes in about 20 different technology companies across the globe, said he would invest in legalized cannabis if he wasn’t serving on the U.N. commission.

“I certainly would be out there in this industry,” he said. “It has enormous potential with the ability to do a lot of good.”

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Gage Peake
Gage Peake
Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
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