While it’s been so secret that Richard Branson is a fan of not only the emerging marijuana industry, but also drug reform as a whole, the 66 year old Virgin Group founder finally came out publicly endorsing entrepreneurs in this field. Branson, who is the 8th richest person in the UK, was the keynote speaker at the New West Summit in San Francisco last weekend. For those of you who don’t know, the New West Summit is a technology, investment, and media conference that focuses on cannabis culture and industry. Branson Skyped in from his home in Necker Island.
When asked about what advice he would give young potrepreneurs, he said, “My main motto in life is ‘screw it, just do it.'” He also cited Portugal’s current decriminalization policy and how successful it has been. Branson is actually part of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which is a 22 person panel of intellectuals from around the world committed to ending the war on drugs. Because of his seat in this commission, Branson cannot enter the legal cannabis community as a business person – yet.
He was asked about possibly getting into cannabusiness, and said, ” If I was not part of the global drug commission, I certainly would be out there in this industry,” Branson said. “It’s an industry with enormous potential, and it can do a lot of good.”
Branson’s public endorsement for this industry is huge, as it legitimizes many of the efforts that both breakout and brand new companies are putting forth. It also gives more pull behind the legalization effort that patients across the country are fighting for daily.
Branson ended the talk by saying, “I’m going to go have a spliff, I think.”