Tony Bennett on Whitney Houston: "Legalize Drugs"

312px-TonyBennett210-1000.jpg
Drug warrior
If the marijuana legalization efforts currently underway in California receive some unexpected financial support from Hollywood over the next few months, drug war opponents may be able to thank Whitney Houston. And Tony Bennett.

Mere hours after Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hilton hotel bathroom on Saturday afternoon, Bennett took the stage at a pre-Grammy Awards party that Houston, 48, was to attend. Drugs must have already been on Bennett's mind -- the next night, he would accept an award for a duo he did with Amy Winehouse, who died last summer at 27 -- for the ageless crooner used his stage time to beg the assembled glitterati to dedicate themselves to a preventative cause: outright legalization.

"I would like to have every gentleman and lady in this room to commit themselves to get our government to legalize drugs," said Bennett, to the sound of some applause.

Bennett didn't repeat this call on Sunday in front of the television cameras -- and Winehouse's parents -- but so what? It's A-listers at Clive Davis' party who have money to burn, not unwashed masses at home (where the drug that killed Winehouse is legal).




It's not yet known what killed Houston at the age of 48 -- reports on Sunday said that she had fluid in her lungs when she died in the bathtub of her hotel room -- but drugs, and her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, are credited for killing her career in the decade prior. Drugs, too, are blamed for helping send Winehouse's life into the spiral that eventually killed her.

"First it was Michael Jackson, then it was Amy Winehouse, and now the magnificent Whitney Houston," said Bennett, before launching into the call for legalization (which, looking at the tape, caused his drummer to react with a seeming chuckle). "So that they have to get it from a doctor, and not from some gangsters who sell it under the table."

Cynics will note it was a doctor that gave Jackson his "milk," Propofol, and that it was withdrawal from alcohol -- which is legal -- that killed Winehouse.

Maybe that's why the New York Daily News, never one to waste a pun, branded Bennett "dopey" and compared the plea to the time when Bennett suggested the "blowback" theory applied to the 9/11 attacks, asking "Who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists?" Maybe that's why Bennett didn't repeat his Hamsterdam push in front of the television cameras, or Winehouse's folks -- who revealed that Bennett donated $100,000 to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which "provide[s] help, support or care for young people, especially those who are in need by reason of ill health, disability, financial disadvantage, or addiction."

Because nothing helps a community out like legal crack.

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Payton_vege
Payton_vege

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Rice11
Rice11

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Andy Whitton
Andy Whitton

I Lost what little respect I had for Tony Bennet

Malcolm Kyle
Malcolm Kyle

Andy, most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high, 'no matter what', so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Even if we could afford to put Narcs on every single corner, at least half of them would soon become dealers themselves. Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future.  

Why do you wish to continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of our 'once so proud & free' nation? Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing our drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies?  

Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard or a local politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime-pay, the many kick-backs and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks? 

Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt

Hard drugs did Whitney Houston no favors.  Marijuana, however, has never killed anyone due to overdose.

Harry Anslinger
Harry Anslinger

I'm for legal crack for adults. What's the point of being an adult if you can't make your own choices and make your own mistakes? Nanny government helps no one, it creates a black market where even children can buy adulterated drugs. A legal regulated market would do less  harm than our current blackmarket and corporate/government prison system.

Tony Bennett was right.

Dragonsheart
Dragonsheart

Me thinks perhaps they confused which artist needs to retire as a result of dementia.  Here's a suggestion Tony....just sing, otherwise, keep your f'ing mouth shut.

Malcolm Kyle
Malcolm Kyle

Mouse'sHeart, Prohibitionists like yourself dance hand in hand with every possible type of criminal one can imagine.

An unholy alliance of ignorance, greed and hate which works to destroy all our hard fought freedoms, wealth and security.

We will always have adults who are too immature to responsibly deal with tobacco alcohol, heroin amphetamines, cocaine, various prescription drugs and even food. Our answer to them should always be: "Get a Nanny, and stop turning the government into one for the rest of us!"

Many of us who wish to see an end to prohibition, but not because we wish to use drugs - they are already available 24/7. We wish to see proper legalized regulation because we are witnessing on a daily basis the futility of this dangerous policy. 'Legalized Regulation' won't be the complete answer to all our drug problems, but it'll greatly ameliorate the crime and violence we are seeing on our streets.

The whole nonsense of 'a disaster will happen if we end prohibition' sentiment sums up the delusional 'chicken little' stance of those like yourself who foolishly insist on continuing down this blind alley. - As if a disaster isn’t already happening. As if prohibition has ever remotely worked?

Your support for prohibition is such a strange mind-set. In fact, It's outrageous insanity!  -- Literally not one prohibitionist argument survives scrutiny. NOT ONE!!!

Nancydevlin76
Nancydevlin76

I gave Tony Bennett too much credit for being smart. If he thinks street drugs killed Michael Jackson, and Amy Winhouse he needs a reallity check. LEAGALIZE DRUGS!!!! are you kidding me??? The message here is stay away from ALL DRUGS you idiot, Tony!!!!

Hppy Hippi
Hppy Hippi

C'mon, all drugs are not the same, but human behavior is. Fearmongering and social rejection of all drug users except alchohol users, is harming the greater good more than the drugs themselves. Marijuana has been cultivated by humans for over 6000 years, has always been a normal part of human life. Pot is almost always medical, even stress relief, as alchohol is used, is actually good for you medically. Your post indicates that you are a good candidate for a medical marijuana card. 

Malcolm Kyle
Malcolm Kyle

I'm afraid that the person who needs a 'reality check' is the one who believes that prohibition is a sane policy.

Nancy, it's quite clear to the rest of us that you're a prohibitionist, so we would like you to answer the following questions:

#1. Why do you rejoice at the fact that we have all been stripped of our unalienable rights, leaving us totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into our homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless judiciary?

#2. Why do you wish to continue to spend $50 billion a year to prosecute and cage your fellow citizens for choosing substances which are not more dangerous than those of which you yourself probably use and approve of, such as alcohol and tobacco?

#3. Do you honestly expect the rest of us to look on passively while you waste another trillion dollars on this ruinously expensive garbage policy?

#4. Why are you waging war on your own family, friends and neighbors?

#5. Why are you so complacent with the fact that our once 'proud and free' nation now has the largest percentage of it's citizenry incarcerated than any other on the entire planet?

#6. Why are you helping to fuel a budget crisis to the point of closing hospitals, schools and libraries?

#7. Why do you rejoice at wasting precious resources on prohibition related undercover work while rapists and murderers walk free, while additionally, many cases involving murder and rape do not even get taken to trial because law enforcement priorities are subverted by your beloved failed and dangerous policy?

#8. Why are you such a supporter of the 'prison industrial complex' to the extent of endangering our nation's children?

#9. Will you graciously applaud when due to your own incipient and authoritarian approach, even your own child is caged and raped?

* It is estimated that there are over 300,000 instances of prison rape a year.
* 196,000 are estimated to happen to men in prison.
* 123,000 are estimated to happen to men in county jail.
* 40,000 are estimated to be committed against boys in either adult prisons or while in juvenile facilities or lock ups.
* 5000 women are estimated to be raped in prison.

#10. And will you also applaud when your own child, due to an unnecessary and counter productive felony conviction, can no longer find employment?

Paladin
Paladin

Wow, what a ridiculous bit of self serving crap that diatribe of yours was!  Legalizing drugs and make them more available than they already are just means that more people use them and your potential for more addicts goes up.  Is the drug war a success?....of course not, but having more wasted people on the street and behind the wheel is just stupid.  I am truly sorry that our society has to protect itself against knuckleheads like you with the drug war but since it sounds like your appetite (and the appetite of others with your wrong thinking viewpoint) for drugs gives us no choice and the war must go on.. 

Paladin
Paladin

To quote Taggart in Blazing Saddles, "You use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore", but your attempts at over intellectualizing the argument are clearly that.  A wasted society is not an efficient society.  There will always be people who seek to alter their consciousness, but giving them unlimited means and access just does not work.  Unless i am mistaken Great Britian tried legalizing heroin for addicts in the 60s or 70s and all they got was more heroin addicts.  If you are so anxious for a place to do all the drugs you want whenever you want, then move to where you can do so..............oh,wait.........nowhere else wants you. 

In your rants I particularly like the part about how I must be law enforcement or some political stooge on the take to disagree with you.  What will be your next wild assertion.........something to do with my religion or political affiliation?  Maybe I just don't agree with your drugs for all tripe.  I will bet that I am not the only one. .     

Malcolm Kyle
Malcolm Kyle

Paladin, I've presented you with a fairly dissected view of the underbelly of prohibition. I have supplied you with ample evidence to show that it is needlessly and shamelessly costing lives, destroying families, and has become a scourge on the soul of our society. During the past 40 years alone, prohibition has caused the arrest of 45 million citizens, made the United States the world’s largest jailer, and destroyed impoverished communities at home and abroad. Yet, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever. - What is it you don't understand about abject failure?

Why can't you admit the obvious? The misguided and counterproductive policy of prohibition has failed; the "unintended" consequences are disastrous. Untold Thousands of people have lost their lives in prohibition-associated violence. Drug lords have taken over entire communities. Misery has spread unabated and corruption is undermining fragile democracies everywhere.

We've had decades of interdictions, spraying and raids on jungle drug factories, but Latin America still remains the world's largest exporter of cocaine and marijuana, while Afghanistan, even with American occupation, continues to produce over 90% of the worlds opium and heroin.

To continue prohibition is ludicrous and if you can't see that by now, then you must be on something far stronger than any of us here have even heard of.

Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high - no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Even if we could afford to put Narcs on every single corner, at least half of them would soon become dealers themselves. Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future.

Why do you wish to continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of our 'once so proud & free' nation? Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing our drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies?

Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard or a local politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime-pay, the many kick-backs and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks?

Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem.

K. Russell
K. Russell

Except for the crack crack at the end of this article, I am relieved to see well known personalities, such as Tony Bennet, speak out for the responsible legalization of marijuana (not crack, heroin, or meth, Chris) as the best way to eliminate the criminal element and to make recreational drug use more transparent. Yes, some people have problems with drugs and there are already laws against those resulting destructive behaviors, on or off drugs. Prohibition has never done anything except increase violence and crime and add to overflowing jails. Legalizing marijuana will bring its use out in the open and end the unfair punishment of millions of responsible users.

AFH
AFH

Regulate Marijuana Like Wine is designed to END THE DRUG WAR.

A hundred years ago there was about 1.3% of the population that were addicts. 40 years ago when Nixon started the drug war, there were about 1.3% of the population addicted to drugs. Today after all those decades of violence on our streets: There are about 1.3% of our population that are addicts.The right people to help deal with a loved one that is an addict are NOT the guys with guns and shackles. They have been at it for over a hundred years now and they have had no success except a mountain of innocent people lying dead in our streets and in Mexico. It is time that we started acting like adults and deal with drug addiction like the medical issue that it is.http://www.regulatemarijuanalikewine....

Alan Pearse
Alan Pearse

Best way of controlling and Policing drugs is by legalising them. Isn't a strange quirk of fate that the most harmful and damaging drug is quite legal and socially accepted: Alcohol

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