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Nation IN BRIEF : MICHIGAN : Lawmaker Calls for Legalizing Drugs

December 18, 1989|From Times staff and wire reports

Rep. George W. Crockett Jr. (D-Mich.) has called for the decriminalization of drugs, becoming the first member of Congress to do so publicly and drawing sharp criticism from drug czar William J. Bennett. "Decriminalization is the only solution," Crockett said in an interview published in the Detroit News. "Our courts are burdened down with these drug cases and there is nothing they can do about it," he said. Money now spent on drug enforcement should be shifted to job training for the urban poor, education, health care and day care, said Crockett, whose district includes Detroit's economically depressed East Side. Crockett said he had no immediate plans to introduce legislation decriminalizing drugs because it could not win congressional approval. When told of the call for decriminalization, Bennett said the congressman presents an unfortunate complication to the Bush Administration's drug-fighting efforts. "I want to fight the bad guys," Bennett said. "I don't want to fight the good guys."

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