Monday, February 13, 2012

Pre-Grammys, Tony Bennett calls for drug legalization

At a pre-Grammy gala, noting the deaths of Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and Whitney Houston, singer Tony Bennett appealed for drug legalization. What strikes me is that in this context the argument is implicitly a public health claim, not an argument grounded in opposition to legal injustice, favoring individual liberty, saving taxpayer's money, or fighting crime. Given the very different circumstances of the deaths of Jackson, Winehouse and Houston, it seems to me Bennett seems to have an understanding of the negative ways drug prohibition abuse affects so many features of drug use patterns and treatment.

It is also striking that on the occasion of Whitney Houston's death, instead of simply lamenting drugs or substance abuse, or endorsing the importance of treatment, Bennett felt moved to endorse a policy change, namely, drug legalization. Bravo Tony Bennett!


Katharine Celentano of SSDP Columbia University and Neill Franklin of LEAP have a terrific discussion of Bennett's comments in Huffington Post.

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