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Sir Richard C.N. Branson applauds progress in legalising weed

Billionaire Sir Richard C.N. Branson is a strong supporter of legalising marijuana. Photo: Internet Source
Mr Douglas Wheatley has long called for the legalisation of marijuana in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Douglas Wheatley has long called for the legalisation of marijuana in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
Local attorney Jamal S. Smith is also for the legalisation of marijuana in the VI. Photo: VINO/File
Local attorney Jamal S. Smith is also for the legalisation of marijuana in the VI. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The famous billionaire and Virgin Islands Belonger, Sir Richard C.N. Branson is confident that there is a ‘bright spark’ in efforts to end what he terms ‘the failed war on drugs’. In this instance he is referring to the legalising of marijuana.

In the United States of America (USA) several states; California, Massachusetts and Nevada have leagalised marijuana. In the states of Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota medical marijuana has been approved. “States that have legalised marijuana are reducing some of the worst harms of the war on drugs, and raising substantial new revenues too,” said Mr Branson.

In an article yesterday November 9, 2016 in the online newsletter ‘Virgin’, captioned ‘Progress on the war on Drugs’, Mr Branson stated, “As the Drug Policy Alliance pointed out, no other reform was approved by so many citizens on so many ballots as marijuana reform. In a watershed moment for the movement to end marijuana prohibition, these results could speed efforts to legalise marijuana in states across the US, at the federal level, and internationally.

I wholeheartedly welcome the news, as a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and a committed advocate to treating drugs as a health issue, not a criminal problem.”

According to the billionaire businessman, there could be more positive news, as votes are still being counted for legalisation initiatives in Maine (which looks likely to pass) and Arizona (which looks less likely). He said that a medical marijuana measure in Montana to improve the state’s existing medical marijuana law also looks likely to pass.

Quoting Branson’s publication in ‘Virgin’, these states follow in the footsteps of Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon, which have all previously passed legalisation measures. A recent Drug Policy Alliance report found they have seen reductions in marijuana arrests and convictions, increased tax revenues, and no increases in youth marijuana use or traffic fatalities.

‘Positive effects of legal marijuana’

He sees California’s Proposition 64 as particularly good news as, in addition to legalising the adult use of marijuana, it enacts across-the-board retroactive sentencing reform for marijuana offenses. By focusing on public health rather than needless arrests, states that have legalised marijuana are reducing some of the worst harms of the war on drugs, and raising substantial new revenues too.

There are now 27 states with medical marijuana laws, seven of which have also approved legal regulation of marijuana for adults (eight if Maine passes.) The world is starting to shift drug laws to prioritise health over punishment. For the first time, the US Attorney General has stated that marijuana is not the gateway drug it has been made out to be. The US legislation follows marijuana legislation everywhere from Jamaica to Uruguay.

“But there is a long way to go. After the US election, this progress could be under threat. I have long argued that we need a different approach to drug policy, one that, one that looks at the available evidence and draws the right conclusions. Let us hope the current movement towards sensible drug policies continues,” said Mr Branson, who was a fierce critic of Donald J. Trump, the President-elect of the USA.

Calls for legalising marijuana in VI

Recently, talk show host Mr Doug Wheatley said Government should stop putting people in jail for marijuana.

“First of all I think we need to stop putting people in jail for marijuana and that will create quite a space in the prison. We don’t need to do that because we understand it has been said over and repeated times that marijuana is not a drug and we should not be locking up people for smoking them and that will free up a lot of cells,” Mr Wheatley pointed out on his ‘Speak Out BVI’ radio programme on ZBVI 780 AM on October 4, 2016.

Also, in May of this year, local attorney at law Jamal S. Smith raised eyebrows in the High Court when he said the Virgin Islands (VI) has some of the highest grade of cannabis sativa in the world and this is why he is against the importation of the drug while being a proponent of its legalisation.

The Rastafarian community in the Virgin Islands in August also proposed the use of marijuana on a commercial level as a possible solution to the current fiscal challenges facing the territory.

Speaking on the 3D show on ZBVI 780 AM with host Doug Wheatley on Friday August 26, 2016, Halstead L. Lima, also known as Cool Lion, said on a regular basis more and more countries are coming to recognise the value of the herb both as a medicine and on a commercial level. He suggested that the Virgin Islands should do the same.

“We have been at this thing a while now. It’s not a marijuana concern; it is just about the economy. I’m just using some alternate survival techniques for the economy,” he stated.

He likened the territory’s economy as standing on a stool with two legs- offshore banking and Tourism- and in his view, commercial marijuana should be the third leg.

14 Responses to “Sir Richard C.N. Branson applauds progress in legalising weed”

  • Xxx (10/11/2016, 16:23) Like (7) Dislike (18) Reply
    All these pot head
    • Yes (14/11/2016, 09:12) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      got to be a alcoholic da say this..... lol a dummy that thinks rum better
  • Dim Sum (10/11/2016, 16:43) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    Yup he sure does! Sam (his son) and them all enjoy the herb - bet over o his private island escape he has some pretty DANK and potent herbs in a garden growing! Don't we have not ONE politician whom is not afraid to voice his/her support for legalization? The colonial bonds are still alive and well in the minds of our elected leaders - such a crying shame.
    • B Real (11/11/2016, 08:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You all keep putting back in these OLD RELICS WHO STILL HOUSE SLAVES MENTALLY.
  • Slyfox (10/11/2016, 16:46) Like (11) Dislike (6) Reply
    He's looking at the economic benefits for himself ant his gang.
  • Domino (10/11/2016, 17:04) Like (0) Dislike (7) Reply
    If the USA is legalizing it then they will simply grow it up there. Or at least until they can outsource production to places like Mexico or Afghanistan. Those US crooks would probably look for cheaper labor in Afghanistan, or use this as an excuse to stay in Afghanistan from where they can point missiles at China, Russia and Iran.

    So as I see it, we will import it and not the other way around. This would not be an economic pillar for BVI.
  • wait yo will see (10/11/2016, 17:05) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The cuban is close behind
  • squadie (10/11/2016, 17:15) Like (6) Dislike (35) Reply
    Let's check those 2 islands to see if anything is growing out there.
  • pheno (10/11/2016, 19:13) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I've burned with Sam a few timed,Dem boys got the fire
  • street reporter. (10/11/2016, 20:22) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    You think he became a billionaire without the wisdom of the weed.. Free the weed let Brandon build a medical marijuana pharmacy. Let farming become profitable and rich.
    • wize up (11/11/2016, 12:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ street reporter: I really hateful right now...where was all this movement 30 years ago..back then we lick weed in the ghuts and wanted to come out in the open so the breeze could blow it to east, west, north and south....just imagine cigarette smoking and rum drinking legalized from way back when while the healing of the nation under lock and key!!!!
  • wize up (11/11/2016, 08:47) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    Some of us can hold certain levels of conversation while some will become criminal suspects(last time I check weed was unlawful).....who remembers "Colombian Red"...."Mary Mary"....coming soon "Private Island Budds").....high grade(green house stylie)
  • action (11/11/2016, 15:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    don't just talk online, mobilise. Get this done. It should not take long as a BVI resident already has the reports for the health minister, Governor, Police Commish, Agric dept. Growth and taxation of this profitable crop can subsidise us growing fruit and veggies too. We then all pay less than the imported poor quality stuff or we have a choice at least and supermarkets can also top up and provide stuff that doesn't grow here. We all win.
    Tourism will increase too. We just need to keep it higher end and all is well. We pay less for prisoners and the courts for these petty things. We drive down imports of it too if we grow here. We can go for a premium product it sounds like too. Remember coffee, tobacco etc down't just have the high volume producers but also the niche, high value stuff like Blue Mountain coffee and St Lucia has Hotel Chocolat. Let's go people. And i never even smoke!
  • Otter (13/11/2016, 09:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It have a person got a trade license on stand by waiting for the day when the this thing get free up.VG os going to be a recreational Marujuana playground belive me.

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