The United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime reportedly prepared a briefing paper calling for nations to end the international War on Drugs and decriminalize self medication.

This according to Sir Richard Branson.

However, it appears the paper was withdrawn before it was ever presented because at least one country pressured U.N. officials to keep a lid on it. It leaked before it was withdrawn because it was distributed last week under an embargo, according to reports.

Which country do you think objected? Yeah, it appears to have been the good ole’ United States of America.

“The paper spells out in clear terms and based on extensive evidence: there are strong arguments for treating drugs as a health issue and not imprisoning or otherwise criminalizing people for personal use or possession of drugs,” Branson wrote.

The existence of the paper and its withdrawal has rocked decriminalization world. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said:

It’s promising that such a powerful statement strongly affirming the need to decriminalize drug use and possession made it this far in the UN process – that in itself represents a dramatic evolution from previous decades when any talk of decriminalization was studiously suppressed.

The paper reportedly emphasized that decriminalization reduces prison populations, gets people healthy through rehab, and frees up tons of money for better things such as real law enforcement and more serious health issues.

“This will hopefully help accelerate the global trend toward ending the criminalization of drugs,” Nadelmann said. “That certainly would make an enormous difference in the United States.”

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