Richard Branson hosts live "War on Drugs" global debate on Google+

Watch the first-ever live global debate on the War on Drugs today on Google+, hosted by Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson at 7pm GMT/ 2pm EST. Details on the webcast here.

Participants will include...

Julian Assange; Russell Brand and Misha Glenny; Geoffrey Robertson and Eliot Spitzer: experts, orators and celebrities who’ve made this their cause, are set to lock horns in a new debate format. Some of our speakers will be on stage in London's Kings Place in front of a ticketed audience, and others will join in from Mexico City, São Paulo or New Orleans, made possible through Google+ Hangouts; a live multi-person video platform.

About the content of the debate, Branson writes:

We’ve carried out two surveys in the last two weeks, one where we asked Twitter, Facebook and Google+ users globally whether they thought the war on drugs had failed, and one UK-specific survey through YouGov.In the global online poll, 91% agreed that the war on drugs has failed. Over 90% also thought that providing treatment for addiction would be a better approach than putting people in jail.Meanwhile, over 95% of 12,090 people surveyed online globally think governments should open the debate to look for other ways then jail to solve the drugs issue. More than 81% of people surveyed globally also agreed that drug use would decrease if governments focused on treatment and stopped putting people in jail for minor drug offences.


  1. I’m from Canada, and I was told yesterday by the Canadian government that there is no debate.

    Now look at this silly world, including such silly people as Richard Branson (who??!), trying to make the Canadian government look like a bunch of totalitarian Neanderthal barbarian goons from the seventh circle of hell… Tsk tsk. That Richard Branson guy needs to put the Doritos down, get off the couch and GET A JOB!!!

    P.S. Apparently this Branson guy is also a virgin? He definitely needs to put those Doritos down and get off the couch.

  2. how much is google paying them to host this on G+?  i don’t have an account there and really don’t want one.  hopefully i can watch without an account.  it’s too bad i can’t contribute.  oh well

  3. That sure is a lot of white guys. Good thing this War on Drugs thingy doesn’t have any disparate impact based on race or it would be a pretty awkward line-up.

  4. I don’t believe Sir Branson understands why the War on Some Drugs continues:  the slave labor pipeline must be preserved at all cost. 

  5. If

    the majority of people in a country believe the war on (some) drugs is wrong


    the war on (some) drugs continues


    that country does not have a representative government.

  6. Does 81% of the world population believe drug use would decrease if it was made legal? Man, people are way more stupid than I thought.

    1. Not by legalization alone, legalization with resources directed toward treatment instead of incarceration.

      It’s a secondary concern anyway. Nobody really thought drinking would decrease with the passage of the 21st Amendment, they just recognized that sensible regulation created less overall harm than outright prohibition.

  7. As much as i’ve gone off assange you have to give him kudos for calling peter hitchens a twat, my word did anyone there take anything that guy said seriously? It is simply not possible he and his brother were blood relations.

    Was russell brand there? I missed the first hour or so but i can’t imagine anything more incongruous.

  8. I’m hungry, time to declare a war on lunchtime! Possibly followed by a war on a crafty smoke on the way back to the office……..only then will I decide whether to declare war on my exchange inbox or not.

  9. Well, if we could do the math, and maybe someone has the time, we would probably find that after excluding two of the most addictive and dangerous drugs (alcohol and nicotine), both legally available around the world, the drug war has caused far more death and destruction in the last 45 years than all illegal drugs combined. 

    It would probably not be a stretch to say the number of deaths from illegal drugs is only a small fraction of the death toll from the drug war, legally acquired prescription and over the counter drugs and vitamins, alcohol, and tobacco combined.

    We can not afford to criminalize drugs.

    But even without legalizing drugs, no one should be incarcerated who is not prone to violence or a habitual thief.

    Putting people in prison for punishment is just stupid and in no way cost effective.

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