Richard Branson is recommending cannabis over cows if New Zealand could legalise the drug.

The billionaire entrepreneur was in the country over the weekend to speak at a charity event.

In an interview with Newshub, he predicted cannabis would be as acceptable as wine in 10 years' time.

He said the war on drugs had been an absolute failure and it was now time to look at other options.

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"We've done a lot of studies on the war on drugs and it's been an abject failure, and what is absolutely clear to us is that drugs should be decriminalised and people who have drug problems should be helped," he told Newshub.

Branson urged New Zealand to legalise, grow, tax and regulate cannabis.

"I think that would be wonderful because obviously the amount of dairy cows that New Zealand has is damaging the rivers, if you could put some of that land over into growing cannabis would be just as profitable for them, if not more profitable."

Federated Farmers responded and said they would look at it if it was legal and profitable, Newshub reported.