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Sir Richard Branson in Toronto on March 6, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Sir Richard Branson in Toronto on March 6, 2012. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Richard Branson answers reader questions on the drug war Add to ...

Sir Richard Branson: Yes. And your former President, Vicente Fox, is a powerful supporter of this. Drug treatment and education cost far less and would do much more to help with drug problems than the war on drugs.

Some Latin American leaders have called for legalizing the transport and possession of marijuana. Will they move ahead unilaterally and allow drugs into the U.S.? Or is this call for radical change simply a tactic to draw attention to the dire situation in these countries due to the drug war?

Sir Richard Branson: I'm not sure how they will proceed. At the recent Summit of the Americas, many Latin American leaders stressed the need for change in drug policy. The U.S. is reluctant, but they are engaging in the debate, at least.

What do you think about programs such as Insite [a supervised injection site]in Vancouver? (From Brenda Beauchamp)

Sir Richard Branson: Heroin substitution and heroin therapy for users who simply cannot get clean certainly has benefits - they reduce deaths and the spread of disease and they drastically reduce property crimes by addicts seeking a fix. I think every effort needs to be made to help people in these programs overcome their addiction, however, and live full and productive lives. Drugs absolutely ruin many lives.

You are a transformative leader who openly imbibes. Has consuming THC made you view problems in unconventional ways and/or made you more receptive to others' opinions? In other words, has it contributed to your leadership ability? (From Tom Collins)

Sir Richard Branson: Well, I haven't imbibed anything but a glass of wine now and then for a long time. I never passed judgment on drug use - I just worry for those who have problems with drugs. I know some people who say drugs have been profound and positive for them - but I didn't experience anything so dramatic.

Just curious, if I take a Virgin galactic flight, what, if any, drug laws apply in space? (From Dave Weatherall)

Sir Richard Branson: In space we will all be very literally on a natural high, so I don't think anyone will even think of drugs.

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