Legalization: Vermont States Attorney Calls for Decriminalization of All Drugs

Windsor County, Vermont, States Attorney Robert Sand has spoken out against the drug war. In a Thursday interview with the Rutland Herald, Sand said he favors decriminalizing all drugs and a public health approach to drug use.

"It's hard for me to see the vast resources expended on drug cases," Sand said. The 15-year prosecutor added that he wished more resources would go into prosecuting the physical and sexual abuse of children. "Don't get me wrong. Drugs are bad for you, they impair your judgment, they affect your memory, they reduce your inhibitions in a dangerous way. They're not good for you."

But the state of Vermont needs to rethink whether it is the role of government to forcibly stop people from using intoxicating substances, Sand said. The idea should not be considered radical, he protested. "I actually reject the premise that it's radical. I'm not condoning people breaking the law. My duty is to enforce the law but it's not my role to just passively accept a situation that exacerbates public danger. Prohibition doesn't work; we should have learned that with alcohol," he said.

It is drug prohibition, not drugs themselves, that causes the most serious crime, Sand argued. "Drug transactions cause the most serious crimes," he said, noting that the disputes deal with money owed, drugs stolen and turf wars between dealers. "That's the violence of drugs," he said, not drug-induced crime. "We don't see crazed crack heads or someone on crystal," he said.

Sand told the Herald he had taken his message to major police departments, and after an initially rocky response, could get police to see his point of view. He asks them to think "about the worst drug house in their community, the worst drug dealer, the worst addict" and then asks them to envision the house painted and repaired and people obtaining drugs legally. That's when they come around he said. "It means less violence. It means less addicts."

Sand has only recently begun speaking out, he told the Herald. It sounds like he is ready to be heard.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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United States of Ignorance and Stupidity?

Wow! Someone in U.S law-enforcement making common-sensical comments; an event so rare, it's newsworthy!


It's about time someone stated the obvious. He should also mention the taxes and jobs generated by legalization, and the healing of our society.

true, in a way

As long as the harsh drugs are kept under control (ie opium, heroine, etc), I find no reason why this can't work. It should in fact decrease drug violence, create a new tax to benefit from and even create a new agricultural market. I mean, it's going to be odd at first, but it will also keep the people going to jail for petty possession crimes of drugs like marijuana, therefore decreasing spending for prisoners. I see this helping, and even if it's just marijuana, that will be a great thing.

little pink (ex-drug) houses

make it so number one!!

All drugs were legal before 1914...

ALL DRUG Prohibition began as a means of harassment toward immigrants.. , and for those who are not aware, there was no such thing as an illegal drug at the start of the 1900s.. And that at the time of prohibition, alcohol was seen as the worst drug of all...

Baseball players of the late 1800s used cocaine on the ball field. Sigmund Freud used it regularly...

You could even mail order your own morphine and heroin from Sears catalog and it would be delivered to your home.

We need to change the laws... Abolish the current drug laws as they exist on the books, and finally put an end to the nightmare we call the war on drugs... To stop punishing the citizens of this country for putting substances into their OWN bodies.. the belief that one substance is good, and another is bad.. and that people who take the "other" substance are BAD people.. who don't deserve to live outside a cage? Come on people. where did the compassion for others go to? that its ok to lock up someone because they decided to use a substance.. And to label them criminals? Anyone who drinks alcohol should see how it feels like to drink their beer in secrecy, and at the same time being in constant fear of being arrested and called a criminal, and who can potentially be locked up for 5-10 years for doing it.. thats justice for ya!

The Constitution grants the right to ingest whatever substances you want... know your rights...

The first 140 years of our country included the right to ingest whatever chemicals you wish, in 1914 that all changed, with the passage of the harrison tax acts. it was the first step to making drugs illegal. it stated that in order to acquire and use drugs, you had to purchase a tax stamp, which the government didn't grant easily. overtime, this led to outright prohibition.

what this tax act did, was criminalize the behavior of a subset of our population. after the passage of this act, patients on drug maintenance programs were now seen as criminals. and law enforcement was NOT going to let these people be viewed as patients. THEY ARE CRIMINALS!!!

the harrison tax act made criminals out of users. and the irony? the first 5 years of the passage of this act, saw the imprisonment of thousands and thousands of medical doctors gong to jail..!!!!

So...Lets end this nightmare for good.. Prohibition of alcohol didn't work, and neither does drug prohibition...


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