Billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson believes marijuana should be the focus of New Zealand farmers, not diary.
Over the weekend, the 66-year-old Virgin Group founder (worth a reported $4.9 billion) spoke at a charity fundraiser in New Zealand, during which he discussed marijuana, saying he believes it will be as acceptable as wine in 10 years time.
In an interview with Newshub, Branson said: “We’ve done a lot of studies on the war on drugs and it’s been an abject failure, and what is absolutely clear to us is that drugs should be decriminalized and people who have drug problems should be helped.”
“You should legalize it, grow it, tax it, regulate it,” he added. “I think that would be wonderful because obviously the amount of dairy cows that New Zealand has is damaging the rivers, if you could put some of that land over into growing cannabis would be just as profitable for them, if not more profitable.”
Federated Farmers president William Rolleston told NewsHub that he while wasn’t completely opposed, he believes it will take some time before it could happen. “Farmers welcome any opportunity to add another string to their bow, and would look at that option only if it was legal and profitable to do so… But that is a long way down the track,” he said.
According to Wikipedia, cannabis is the third most widely used recreational drug in New Zealand, following alcohol and tobacco, as well as the most widely used illegal drug.
Marijuana is currently illegal within the country, but there’s ongoing political efforts to legalize it for those over 18 years of age.