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Federal Judge Calls for Legalizing Drugs

By The Associated Press / December 14, 1989



NEW YORK

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.

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``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.

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.''