Richard Branson's advice for marijuana entrepreneurs: 'Screw it, just do it'
Published on 10/17/16
The 8th richest person in the UK, Richard Branson, recently gave a keynote speech at the New West Summit in San Francisco where he spoke to marijuana investors and patients about the futures of the marijuana. "Screw it, just do it" was his advice to those taking risks and adventuring into the legal-gray area that is the marijuana industry. As a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, Branson is part of 22 world leaders advocating for the decriminalization and regulation of drugs around the world. In his keynote speech, Branson cited Portugal's 2001 transformation, when they decriminalized many illicit substances like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, and began providing treatment instead of jail. Since 2001, drug-related HIV infections have dropped 90%, and the number of people seeking treatment rose to 60%. The regulation of drugs and treatment of illness has proven to be a better solution for both the the government and it's citizens.
The group calls for the decriminalization of all drugs, and believes regulating drugs — rather than "leaving it up to the underworld," Branson says — places a greater emphasis on public health and protects the safety of communities around the globe.
he gave the example of Portugal's revolutionary drug policy. In 2001, the small European country decriminalized marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other illicit substances to shift government efforts from locking addicts up to providing treatment.
Drug-related HIV infections plummeted over 90% since 2001, while the number of people in drug-treatment rose 60% from 1998 to 2011. The results were astounding.
" If I was not part of the global drug commission, I certainly would be out there in this industry," Branson said. "It's an industry with enormous potential, and it can do a lot of good."
He ended by saying, "I'm going to go have a spliff, I think."