Versus is a new series of debates, designed to showcase Google + Hangouts. For their debut, they picked one of the world’s toughest problems: the miserable failure of Prohibition to do anything but militarize police and drug cartels, and generate bumper profits at the top of the pyramid while criminalizing and zombie-fying millions at the bottom. The War On Drugs costs US taxpayers $1717 per second, and one person is arrested every 19 seconds for manufacture or possession of drugs – 1.6 million people per year. It has so far cost more than $1 trillion, and drug use and related crimes are more prevalent than ever. As is abuse of prescription drugs. In the 41 years since disgraced President Richard Nixon came up with this policy, it has sent the country to #1 on the global incarceration list – with almost half of all inmates being there for drug-related offenses.
The debate, from March this year, features such luminaries as Sir Richard Branson, the flamboyant founder and Chairman of the Virgin empire; Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (does he have some inside leaks on the drug war? No doubt…); Jemima Khan, UK society gal famous for marrying Pakistani cricket player and aspiring President Imran Khan; and Russell Brand, foppish comedian from Get Him to the Greek famous for marrying Katy Perry. There’s also a bunch of less famous cops, bureaucrats and politicians.