Bennett Explains Drug Legalisation Rant During Houston Tribute

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February 14, 2012 | 4:01am EST

Tony Bennett has defended remarks he made during a Saturday night tribute to Whitney Houston, when he called for drugs to be legalised, insisting the world should look towards Amsterdam in the international war on narcotics.
The crooner stunned and puzzled many at music mogul Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammys party when he blamed Houston’s demise on drugs and called for lawmakers to legalise them.

He has since explained his comment, stating that fewer people would be interested in a drug trade if narcotics were freely available.

He tells Rolling Stone magazine, “(Legalisation would) get rid of all the gangsters that make people hide.

“One thing I’ve learned about young people (is) when you say, ‘Don’t do this…,’ that’s the one thing they’re going to try and do. Once it’s legal and everybody can do it, there is no longer the desire to do something that nobody else can do.

“I witnessed that in Amsterdam. It’s legal, and, as a result, there’s no panic in the streets. There’s no deals, there’s no ‘Meet me at the corner and I’ll give you something’.”

Bennett famously kicked his own cocaine habit in the 1970s.