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Extreme Politics: Vermont Mayor Calls for Death Penalty for Hard Drug Dealers, Legalizing Marijuana

Barre, Vermont, Mayor Thomas Lauzon's frustration with drugs and drug policy is showing, and it's making him just a touch schizophrenic. In remarks reported in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus Saturday, Lauzon called for the death penalty for crack and heroin dealers, and in the same breath, called for the legalization of marijuana.

He said he plans to ask the state legislature to adopt the death penalty and to legalize marijuana. Failing that, he said, he hopes to open to a statewide discussion about the state's drug problem, probably beginning with an April forum in Barre.

Barre (pronounced "berry") is an old-time boomtown that in days gone by was known as "The Chicago of New England." Today Barre is famed as an exporter of fine, granite, graveside monuments, a distinction that earned it a "ZipUSA" feature in the October 2003 issue of National Geographic.

"People who are dealing crack and dealing heroin have zero social value and should be put to death," Lauzon said. "I'm sure everyone will distance themselves from me," Lauzon said Saturday of his death-penalty call. "But if anyone tells you we're winning the war on drugs, they're lying."

Saturday evening he reiterated that stance in another interview with the Times Argus. "What social value do they have? They are dealing crack and heroin to young people, knowing full well what the effects will be," the mayor said. "What purpose do they serve in society other than to destroy lives, to destroy families?"

Vermont politicians reacted cautiously. State Sen. Richard Sears (D-Bennington), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he understood Lauzon's frustration, but didn't embrace either the death penalty for dealing hard drugs or legalizing marijuana. "I think the man is very frustrated, and I understand his frustration," Sears said. "The problem in my view is we've ignored this problem until it's out of hand."

Jason Gibbs, a spokesman for Gov. James Douglas, told the newspaper that while the governor was not unalterably opposed to the death penalty, he was opposed to legalizing marijuana. "He's not unalterably opposed to the death penalty, but he doesn't have any plans to introduce it. There are some circumstances he would support a death penalty, but I'm not sure this is among them," Gibbs said. "Marijuana is a gateway drug for some folks, so he would not support legalization."

Lauzon said he had discussed his proposals with some legislators, but hadn't gotten very far. "They listen politely. I would like to have a statewide conversation. The conversation I'd like to start with is 'How are we doing?' Are we happy with our progress in the war on drugs? What are we doing in Vermont with regard to the war on drugs?" Lauzon said. "Maybe we start in Barre."

While Lauzon's proposal for the death penalty for drug dealers is a first in recent Vermont history, his call for legalizing marijuana echoes one made last December by Windsor County States Attorney Robert Sand, who called for the legalization of marijuana and decriminalization of other drugs. And so goes the drug debate in Vermont.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Vermont needs a new governor

Vermont needs to replace their existing governor, and send him to prison for promoting the criminal drug war.

Vermont?

Wow...I'm usually proud to have been born in Vermont! Not today! Maybe Mayor Lauzon should consider furthering his career by moving to the Southwest. That is where these sort of opinions seem to be shared by many politicians. I'm glad to know I can ask him who has value as a human being, and who doesn't...since he claims to know. I don't use crack or heroin, and don't have a warm place in my heart for those who deal it, but there is a lot of difference between this and wanting to execute people. Every day I find a new reason I'm glad my kids don't say the "pledge" at school (liberty and justice for all). The existence of the American death penalty, along with all the other facets of our harsh, excessive, and unreasonable "justice" system, is one of the reasons a number of my friends continue to use drugs, just to keep from being paralyzed by anger, and to remain functional, positive, and productive people. Luckily, I doubt that his suggestion will have much support in Vermont. Maybe he just wants to boost sales of his town's graveside monument sales, marking the graves of executed persons. I doubt it.

Professional Politicians

Yeh, maybe the death penalty should be imposed on all professional politicians when they get caught up in something dirty.
The city should FIRE that mayor and the state should get a different governor.

Don't agree (with all of it) but can empathize

I have worked directly with those who are addicted to heroin, crack, and, the latest and absolute worst, methamphetamine (those of you in parts of the country where meth hasn't gotten bad yet, just wait until people start looking like living skeletons in front of your very eyes over a period of a few months). Cannibas is so completely different. It is a plant, used in it's whole plant form, and, while it does sometimes make people lazy or unproductive, it can also be used in healing like many other herbs. The key word is "respect" when using it. No matter how one might try to respect one's self or the substance with heroin, crack or meth, they cannot. It is literally deadly-not only to the user, but often to the children involved or the spouse involved, when the user either gets them addicted as well, or becomes so abusive that they die. We see it all too often in Oregon.

So, since crack, heroin, and meth dealers directly cause death and lifetime health issues somewhat less than death, but just as horrendous to deal with, I can empathize with the governor's position-although I personally cannot condone the death penalty even for those who are murderers.

And I wholeheartedly agree that cannibas does not belong in the same configuration at all and should be legalized.

Fiora
Eugene, OR

Dealing Death

I want to applaud Mayor Lauzon's stand on his priciples. Let's kill all the drug dealers. But don't stop at cocaine and heroine. Let's go after those despicable dealers in tobacco and alcohol! Death penalties all around. Then maybe we can start on the politicians...

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://NoNAIS.org

heroin, crack, meth

Hi Fiora,

As you work with addicts, I can respect your deep concerns about these drugs. However, I have to respectfully disagree with the line "No matter how one might try to respect one's self or the substance with heroin, crack or meth, they cannot".

I tried cocaine & heroin dozens of times, as well as crack and meth a few times. I never became addicted to any of them, and haven't used, or wanted to, for a decade. While there is no guarantee for such a result, there are many people who can use these drugs once in a while. People who deal with addicts (counselors, police, prosecutors) are mostly dealing with the problem users and are not seeing the responsible users, so it is possible to get a distorted picture of the risks these drugs pose.

Also, whatever the risk is, I have a right to take that risk, I was a willing buyer and the seller was a willing seller, so I don't think anyone should get the book thrown at them.

Thanks,
Former chipper.

Live From Vermont!

Recently there was a roundup of suspected drug dealers in Barre Vermont in a sweep dubbed "operation granite streets". This is one in a series of events that has illustrated the failure of the policy of prohibition in my immediate community. One event-while less obvious-that has done the same job was a pipe-bombing of some cars parked in a low income housing unit in Barre. I will bet you my bank balance that the bombing was drug-related and that the perpetrator was either a corrupt cop or the son of a cop. The good people of Barre know that I am on the right track. Stay tuned to "This Weeks Corrupt Cops Stories" for a story from Barre.

I made history in Vermont politics when I ran for the office of Lieutenant Governor on a platform that included pardoning all of Vermonts non-violent drug offenders. Rest assured, I will be present for any community meetings that might be taking in Barre in the near future-that I might inject some rationality into the conversation.

Stay tuned for more and check out my site-Illuminati Slayer-for more. Peter.

Don't agree (with all of it)

Don't agree (with all of it) but can empathize
Comment posted by Anonymous on Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:48pm

I have worked directly with those who are addicted to heroin, crack, and, the latest and absolute worst, methamphetamine (those of you in parts of the country where meth hasn't gotten bad yet, just wait until people start looking like living skeletons in front of your very eyes over a period of a few months). Cannibas is so completely different. It is a plant, used in it's whole plant form, and, while it does sometimes make people lazy or unproductive, it can also be used in healing like many other herbs. The key word is "respect" when using it. No matter how one might try to respect one's self or the substance with heroin, crack or meth, they cannot. It is literally deadly-not only to the user, but often to the children involved or the spouse involved, when the user either gets them addicted as well, or becomes so abusive that they die. We see it all too often in Oregon.

So, since crack, heroin, and meth dealers directly cause death and lifetime health issues somewhat less than death, but just as horrendous to deal with, I can empathize with the governor's position-although I personally cannot condone the death penalty even for those who are murderers.

And I wholeheartedly agree that cannibas does not belong in the same configuration at all and should be legalized.

Fiora
Eugene, OR

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