Gingrich: Stamp Out Drugs, Not Cigarettes

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, asserting that illegal drug use has climbed dramatically during the Clinton presidency, proposed Friday that a national referendum be held on whether to legalize drugs or impose tougher penalties for importing products such as cocaine.

Gingrich, of Georgia, in a speech to the summer meeting of the Republican National Committee, did not say how a referendum would be held. But he made clear he would vote for imposing new penalties on drug users, not legalizing drugs.

Outlining his proposal, Gingrich said the country should say to drug traffickers: “If you import a commercial quantity of drugs into the United States for the purpose of destroying our children, we will kill you.”

Gingrich made the comment at the same time that he belittled suggestions from the Food and Drug Administration that tobacco be regulated as a drug. Gingrich said that instead of fighting tobacco companies, the government should focus on drugs such as cocaine and marijuana.

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