Article by Kim Janssen, Chicago Tribune
Smoke ’em up!
That was the unexpected message for thousands of budding entrepreneurs who paid to come to Chicago’s McCormick Place on Tuesday morning hoping to hear business tips from laid-back British billionaire Sir Richard Branson.
The 66-year-old Virgin Group founder mixed in some unorthodox parenting advice for entrepreneurs about raising their children along with his more conventional business bromides.
“If they’re going to have a joint, do it with them,” the father of two told conventioneers from the stage. “Don’t let them sneak off and do it on their own.”
After a smattering of awkward laughter, Branson felt compelled to add that “I’m on the global drug commission” and that he has been working hard to reinforce the idea that drugs are “a health problem and not a criminal problem,” a message which got a warmer response from his audience.
Though it seemed to catch many in the audience unaware, Branson has made no secret of his occasional marijuana use and has been an advocate for decriminalizing marijuana.