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Governor Ventura slams drug war

While in Washington for the annual meeting of the National Governors Association, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura was featured at the National Press Club on February 22 to talk about his recent electoral victory, the Reform Party, and the state of American politics. In addition to slamming the two-party system and career politicians, he also had some critical words for the war on drugs.

When Ventura was asked, "Do you have plans to reform the drug laws in Minnesota? If so, how? And should nonviolent drug offenders fill up the scarce prison cells? Should they even be arrested?" he said:

"First of all, I think prison cells should definitely be for violent prisoners because those are the ones that are committing acts of violence against other humans, and those are the ones that need to be taken off our streets to make them safe.

As far as drug offenders goes, in a lot of ways I lump this into one of my core values that I teach And one of those is that you can't legislate stupidity. And I'm very clear on that. And it's not just in the drug world, it's in many worlds.

Government today, every time someone does something stupid, they come back and want to legislate and make a law­­stop people from doing stupid things.

It can't be done, ladies and gentlemen.

As far as drugs go, my mother, God bless her, lived through prohibition of alcohol, and she told me that the war right now on drugs is the same as the prohibition of alcohol was when she went through that as a young person.

And I believe very strongly that in order to conquer a war on drugs, it's simple. You have to stop the demand. That's the key to it. Stop the demand and the supply will dry up.

We have drugs in Stillwater State Prison. These people are locked up 24 hours a day. If we can't keep them out of the prison, how are we going to stop it out in the free world on a street corner?

So I think, in my viewpoint, we need to take a new approach to the war on drugs. We need to look at educating people, again, that stupidity is not the right avenue to go down, get our young people to make good choices, and the only way you're going to defeat this war is by defeating the demand for it, not the supply of it."

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