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Sir Richard Branson And Senator Sheldon Whitehouse To Discuss Drug Policy Reform


richard branson senator sheldon whitehouse drug policy breaking the tabooSundog Pictures announced today it will be holding a special screening of its groundbreaking documentary “Breaking the Taboo,” about the war on drugs, in Washington DC. The screening will be held at 5.30pm on Wednesday, October 9th at the National Press Club at 529 14th St. NW, Holeman Lounge, Washington DC.

The special screening will be followed by a panel discussion from 6.15 until 7pm about opportunities to help drug offenders get back on the right path and reduce the burden that drug convictions place on American prison systems. The discussion will feature Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI], Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance and A.T. Wall, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

Sir Richard, who sits on the board of the Global Commission on Drug Policy said, “The timing of this event in Washington DC couldn’t be better. It’s time to refocus our resources by investing in people addicted to drugs, looking towards a more humane approach for treatment, and changing existing laws not just in the United States but around the world. I am thrilled to join Senator Whitehouse for this discussion.”

Added Senator Whitehouse, “As a former prosecutor, I’m keenly aware of the damage drugs cause in our communities, but I’ve also seen how commonsense reforms can benefit both drug offenders and their families.  In Rhode Island, we’ve seen how drug courts for low-level offenders can help addicts get the treatment they need while also reducing the burden on our prison system.  At the federal level, I’ve encouraged broader use of drug courts, and I’m pleased that the Senate is considering smarter sentencing policies and more effective re-entry programs.  I look forward to discussing these important issues.”

Narrated by Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman, “Breaking the Taboo,” takes a critical look at how after 50 years of prohibition, illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world after food and oil. Speaking during the documentary former US President Bill Clinton says, “Obviously if the expected results were that we would eliminate serious drug use in America and eliminate the narco-trafficking networks, it hasn’t worked.”

“Breaking the Taboo” was filmed in 8 countries; conducted interviews with over 176 people; and has the support of 4 former Presidents & The Global Commission on Drug Policy.

The film calls for an honest and open debate about drug laws, encouraging viewers to break the taboo on a subject that has been ignored for too long.

“Breaking the Taboo” has also garnered the support of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman, who have recorded viral announcements encouraging the public to “Break the Taboo” on the war on drugs. Virals can be viewed and the campaign followed on: #BreakTheTaboo. Follow @TabooBreakers #BreakTheTaboo #WaronDrugs

“Breaking the Taboo” is produced by Sam Branson’s indie Sundog Pictures and Brazilian co-production partner Spray Filmes and was directed by Cosmo Fielding Mellen and Fernando Grostein Andrade.

Future screenings of “Breaking the Taboo” this year are planned for Uruguay, Ghana, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia.

Media wishing to attend the event should email Nicolla Hewitt Communications at NH@NicollaHewitt.com.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. I’m sorry, I suggested in the above post that Virgin should give free cell phone service to “furloughed” military personnel. And what I meant to say was that military personnel should get free Virgin phones and service all the time, not just when Washington throws a hissy fit and shuts down the government.

  2. I looked up Rick Steves because although I was familiar with the name through PBS, I didn’t know about his cannabis stance. So, okay, now I get it. Mr. Branson can be somewhat flippant at times, which bothers me, but I’m guessing that’s just his personality. But watching the British panel questioning him, they appeared to give him more authority on this subject than his responses would seem to indicate.

    And, hey Sir Richard, why don’t you lower the cost on those Virgin PayLo programs to $10 per month? If you have that much pull with the British government, you should be able to call up your buddies at Virgin at get this done, one, two, three! And free service for all furloughed military personnel!

  3. He is rich and famous, for sure. Obviously smart and successful too. As such, a lot of people will pay attention when he talks, even if it’s not about space travel, or airlines or whatever else he’s currently making even more money doing. I guess he falls into the same category as Rick Steves, the travel show guy. Not really an expert on drugs, but someone who is brave enough to use their celebrity to promote a worthwhile cause (although I would guess Mr. Steves is not a novice cannabis user).

  4. I saw Richard Branson speak before a U.K. government panel this year on C-Span. Is it because he is so rich that he is on this panel? Or because he is an expert on drugs? He was entertaining, I guess. (Sometimes I don’t get British humor.) And I really appreciate his stance on treating addiction as a health problem, not a legal problem. I just wish… I dunno what I wish.

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