Pubdate: Sun, 25 Feb 2007
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2007 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: The Associated Press


BARRE, Vt. --Mayor Thomas Lauzon says Vermont is losing the war on 
drugs, and that the solutions are to legalize marijuana and impose 
the death penalty on dealers of crack cocaine and heroin.

"I'm sure everyone will distance themselves from me," Lauzon said 
Saturday. "But if anyone tells you we're winning the war on drugs, 
they're lying."

Of hard drug dealers, he asked, "What social value do they have? They 
are dealing crack and heroin to young people, knowing full well what 
the effects will be. What purpose do they serve in society other than 
to destroy lives, to destroy families?"

Lauzon said he hopes to host a statewide forum in late April on 
Vermont's problems with illegal drugs.

Vermont does not have the death penalty for any crime. Republican 
Gov. Jim Douglas has said he might favor the death penalty in some 
circumstances, but has stopped short of proposing one, in part 
because it's unlikely the Democrat-controlled Legislature would agree.

Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington and chairman of the Senate Judiciary 
Committee, expressed doubt that Vermont would soon pass a death 
penalty, or that drug dealers would be the first to come under it.

Sears said that "if we were to have a discussion about the death 
penalty -- and that's a big if -- I think it would be about a 
different population."

He also took a dim view of legalizing marijuana, saying that would 
put Vermont at odds with federal law.

Jason Gibbs, Douglas' spokesman, said he had not talked with the 
governor about the death penalty for crack and heroin dealers; he 
reiterated the governor's earlier stated stance on the death penalty 
in general.

"The governor certainly has no appreciation or respect for anyone who 
seeks to poison another individual for profit," Gibbs added.

Gibbs noted Douglas had spoken out against legalizing marijuana 
recently in response to calls by Windsor County State's Attorney 
Robert Sand to do so.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman