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Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 02:49:33 +0000
From: (P.Scott Ehlers)
Subject: ABA Prez on Legalization

There was a request on Friday for a copy of the USA Today article which
featured the views of the president of the American Bar Association on drug
legalization.  Here is the full text of that article.

USA Today - June 28, 1994

Next ABA boss:  Legalize drugs
Says it's a way to reduce crime

By Leslie Phillips

        The president-elect of the American Bar Association favors
legalizing drugs- from marijuana to crack cocaine- as a step to cutting
        George Bushnell, who takes over the nation's largest organization
of lawyers in August, says he has held that view for more than 30 years.
        His view, he says, is personal.  The ABA has no position on
decriminalization.  And Bushnell says he will not try to persuade the
375,000-member organization to take one.
        "I personally favor decriminalization of all drugs,"  says
Bushnell, a trial lawyer in Detroit.
        If government regulates or sells drugs, "it takes the profit out of
it, which in turn reduces the attractiveness of drug activity among kids.
        "One of the main reasons for crime is that people need money to buy
the stuff."
        Bushnell, 70, joins a handful of other public figures such as
Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former secretary of State George Shultz and
New York federal Judge Robert Sweet in advocating drug decriminalization.
        "Many thoughtful people are looking at decriminalization as away of
dealing with the violence that's associated with the prohibition against
certain drugs," says the ABA's Criminal Justice section chairman Randoph
Stone.  "I don't think people will be shocked or surprised...I think there
are many members who have that view."
        By contrast, Bushnell and the ABA take a tepid view of the
multi-billion dollar crime bill wending its way through Congress.
        Parts of it are a "step forward," Bushnell says, while other parts
are "inappropriate."
        The ABA supports an assault weapons ban, drug treatment for state
and federal prisoners, and grants to states for prevention and education
programs for youth.
        But the popular "three strikes and you're out" proposal- calling
for life in prison after a third violent felony conviction- is a "glitzy
political response to the fear that grips our country," he says.
        The community policing program which will put 100,000 more cops on
the street is a "phony and a fraud."
        Building more prisons for violent criminals is "a rathole for money."
        "We are not looking at what causes crime," Bushnell says.  Instead,
the bill "has become a political engine for both federal and state
legislative candidates and in every state with a gubernatorial election."


P. Scott Ehlers                                          

"Although it is not true that all conservatives are is true that most stupid people are
--John Stuart Mill

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility
against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Laws do not persuade just because they threaten."
--Seneca, A.D. 65