Politics

Richard Branson and Kofi Annan: End the Drug War

| by Reason Foundation

A larger-than-ever-before group of political and financial celebrities will petition the United Nations this week to refocus the globe-spanning war on drugs from "criminal justice towards a public health approach," reports the Guardian

Those backing the call include Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico; George Papandreou, former prime minister of Greece; César Gaviria, former president of Colombia; Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil; George Shultz, former US secretary of state; Javier Solana, former EU high representative; Virgin tycoon Richard Branson; and Paul Volcker, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve.

The global advocacy organisation Avaaz, which has nine million members, will present a petition in support of the commission's recommendations to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

Danny Kushlick, head of external affairs at Transform, the drug policy foundation that has consultative status with the UN, said current events, such as the cartel-related violence in Mexico, President Barack Obama's comments that it was "perfectly legitimate" to question whether the war on drugs was working, and the wider global economic crisis, had given calls for a comprehensive overhaul of the world's drugs policy a fresh impetus.

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Volcker and others first petitioned the U.N. to end the drug war in 1998. The recipient of that letter is now a signatory: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

As Jacob Sullum recently pointed out, Obama isn't actually questioning the war on drugs--not even the war on medical marijuana.