On Tuesday 13 March, at 7pm, Transform will take part in the most high-profile public drug reform debate we've ever been invited to (and as far as we can tell, that has ever been staged). The event, "It's Time to end the War on Drugs", is being hosted by Google+ and the world's largest debating forum Intelligence². Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst and Danny Kushlick, head of external affairs, will join an eclectic mix of celebrities, public figures and politicians, speaking either for or against the title motion. Among them are Sir Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Julian Assange (unclear what his position is on this), author Misha Glenny, former president of Mexico Vincente Fox, Peter Hitchens from the Mail on Sunday, two senior figures from the UNODC, Geoffrey Robertson QC, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair. (For the full list of participants, see the event page.)
"To liberalise or prohibit, that is the question. And to answer it the masters of live debate have joined forces with the masters of web technology to create a never-seen-before combination of
Oxforddebating and Silicon Valleyprowess.
Prohibitionists argue that legalising anything increases its consumption. The world has enough of a problem with legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, so why add to the problem by legalising cannabis, cocaine and heroin?
The liberalisers say prohibition doesn’t work. By declaring certain drugs illegal we haven’t reduced consumption or solved any problem. Instead we’ve created an epidemic of crime, illness, failed states and money laundering.
Julian Assange and Richard Branson; Russell Brand and Misha Glenny; Geoffrey Robertson and Eliot Spitzer. Experts, orators and celebrities who’ve made this their cause – come and see them lock horns in a newIntelligence²/Google+ debate format. Some of our speakers will be on stage in
London, others beamed in from Mexico Cityor São Pauloor , all thanks to the “Hangout” tool on Google+. New Orleans
The web will have its say, and so can you at the event in
. Be part of the buzz of the audience, be part of an event beamed across the web to millions. Come and witness the future of the global mind-clash at the first of ourVersus debates, live at London Kings Place."