By SIR RICHARD BRANSON | 10/8/13 10:25 PM EDT
As the eyes of the world watch the U.S. government shutdown, leaving as many as 800,000 of its employees without pay, I find myself dumbstruck that one of the agencies that is still showing up for work is the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agents of the DEA are described as “essential” employees going about their daily business of fighting the global war on drugs. And yet, as a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, it is clear to me and many others that the war on drugs is failing and is also costing the U.S. taxpayer more than $50 billion a year. How can this possibly make economic sense at a time of such financial uncertainty? The answer: It doesn’t.