A United Nations office had drafted a proposal to decriminalize all drug use and possession around the world, but withdrew the plan amid backlash, BBC reports.
Billionaire business mogul Richard Branson had revealed the statement on the website for his company, Virgin. He said the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime aimed to call on governments worldwide to decriminalize "drug use and possession for personal consumption for all drugs."
However, sources tell BBC "a middle-ranking official" had written the statement, which the office never considered to be official policy. At least one country pressured the U.N. office to drop the statement, BBC adds.
According to the statement as posted on Virgin's website, the U.N. office had argued: "Treating drug use for non-medical purposes and possession for personal consumption as criminal offences has contributed to public health problems and induced negative consequences for safety, security, and human rights."
More than 1.5 million drug-related arrests were made in the U.S. in 2014, according to the FBI.
Branson is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a team of business leaders and former political leaders pushing for drug reform worldwide.