Pubdate: Fri, 01 Dec 2006
Source: Times Argus (Barre, VT)
Copyright: 2006 Times Argus
Author: Susan Smallheer
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


WHITE RIVER JUNCTION -- Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand
says he thinks illegal drugs should be decriminalized and a different
approach used to help people who use the drugs.

"It's hard for me to see the vast resources expended on drug cases,"
said Sand.

"Don't get me wrong," Sand told the Rutland Herald. "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."

Sand has been a prosecutor for 15 years and the Windsor County state's
attorney for the past nine years.

Sand said he didn't think the current system worked and it needs to be

"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."

He said he didn't believe it was the government's job to stop people
from drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs.

Sand used the example of Prohibition, barring alcohol consumption in
the 1920s and 1930s.

"Prohibition doesn't work; we should have learned that with alcohol,"
he said.

Sand said that after domestic violence, the most serious crimes he
sees occur during drug transactions or are committed by people seeking
money for drugs.

"Drug transactions cause the most serious crimes," he

"That's the violence of drugs," he said "We don't see crazed crack
heads or someone on crystal" methamphetamines committing violent crimes.

Sand said drugs should be regulated and not be available to children.
They could be treated like alcohol.

Although Sand said he'd been sharing his opinion about drugs with some
people, he hadn't spoken with lawmakers about changing the laws.

"I don't know that I'm right, but we need to talk about it," Sand
said. "We need to have an intelligent discussion."
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