Federal Judge Calls for Legalizing Drugs

THE war on drugs is a failure and drugs from cocaine to heroin should be legalized, taxed, and dispensed by the state, a federal judge says. In a speech Dec. 12, US District Judge Robert Sweet became the first federal judge to propose publicly that such drugs be made legal, according to the Drug Policy Foundation, a non-profit organization in Washington that researches drug policy.

``I suggest it is time to abolish the prohibition - to cease treating indulgence in mind alteration as a crime,'' Mr. Sweet said.

Other prominent people who favor legalization include former Secretary of State George Shultz, economist Milton Friedman, and columnist William Buckley.

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Legalizing drugs would identify users, raise revenue for rehabilitation, and eliminate gangs and drug dealers, Sweet said, adding, ``The model is the repeal of Prohibition and the end of Al Capone....''

The Bush administration has said legalization would create an ``unqualified national disaster'' by creating more addicts.

The same day, drug policy director William Bennett compared legalization supporters to advocates of slavery.

``This is not an economic issue. There were arguments made for slavery based on economic considerations,'' Mr. Bennett said at a news conference in New Hampshire. ``For someone to sit in a room and make an abstract bloodless economic argument - when we're looking at 200,000 cocaine babies a year - is to miss the point.''

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