Ron Paul and Barney Frank are wrong about weed, says former drug czar
William Bennett, the former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George H.W. Bush, wrote an opinion column on CNN on Thursday morning saying that Ron Paul and Barney Frank's bill to let the states decide how they want to handle marijuana is a bad idea.
Arguing that weed is a gateway drug that's currently far more potent than ever, Bennett began his op-ed titled "Why Barney Frank and Ron Paul are wrong on drug legalization" by admitting that marijuana decriminalization advocates come from both sides of the aisle nowadays.
"From certain precincts on the left, notably Barney Frank, to certain precincts on the right, notably the editorial page of National Review, we are witnessing a new push to end the so-called war on drugs and legalize drug use, starting with marijuana. Indeed, Ron Paul, Barney Frank's co-sponsor in the latest legislative effort, said recently he would go so far as to legalize heroin," Bennett wrote.
Frank would probably disagree with Bennett's characterization. When the Democrat announced HR 2306 he clearly said it was not a legalization bill, but one that would shift the regulation to the state.
"I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco," Frank said last week. "But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy.
Bennett concluded his piece with what appeared to be a direct snipe at Paul, a Republican congressman who often identifies himself as a Libertarian.
"The libertarian experiment promoted as a novel theory by some will only make things worse. More legalization equals more damage, waste, crime and abuse. Not less. That is why it is no time to surrender," Bennett wrote.
Although in his CNN piece he points to the "epidemic" of prescription drug abuse as an example of how simply legalizing and regulating narcotics does not work, in his opinion, he noticeably left out an example he could have spoken to personally.
Bennett is a curious person to pontificate about vices since it was only after several media outlets reported that "The Book of Virtues" author was someone familiar with winning and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars while gambling did he choose to stop.
"A number of stories in the media have reported that I have engaged in high stakes gambling over the past decade. It is true that I have gambled large sums of money. I have also complied with all laws on reporting wins and losses," Bennett said when he buckled to pressure and quit gambling in 2003.
-- Tony Pierce
Andrew Malcolm is on vacation
Photo: In this Jan. 24, 2010 picture, Todd Wagner, a medical marijuana caregiver sits with other vendors and shows his display of marijuana buds to medical marijuana patients during the Medical Marijuana Clinic in Billings, Mont. Credit: James Woodcock / AP Photo/Billings Gazette