Legendary singer Tony Bennett is Whitney Houston's death to call for legalization of drugs in America, stirring up mixed reaction.
During a star-studded pre-Grammy gala Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton, the same hotel where Houston’s body was found and was still being examined, Bennett said onstage:
"First it was Michael Jackson, then there was Amy Winehouse, and now the magnificent Whitney Houston. I’d like to have every gentleman and lady in this room commit themselves to get our government to legalize drugs so they have to get it from a doctor, not just some gangsters that just sell it under the table."
Was that just dopey talk or does Bennett have a point?
Bennett, who survived his own cocaine habit in the late Seventies, told RollingStone.com that reaction to his comments have been "mostly positive."
"I witnessed that in Amsterdam. It's legal, and as a result there's no panic in the streets," Bennett told RollingStone.com. "There's no deals, there's no 'Meet me at the corner and I'll give you something.' You're always afraid you're going to get arrested. You have to hide. Why do that?"
The cause of Houston’s death has yet to be determined, but TMZ reported that the family was told by L.A. County Coroner officials that Houston appears to have died from a combination of Xanax (alprazolam) (a legally prescribed benzodiazepine tranquilizer used to treat anxiety and panic disorder) and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol.
Critics have flooded social media, saying Bennett's remarks were tasteless and misleading because there were no illegal drugs involved in any of the cases he mentioned.
But supporters say Bennett's bigger point is fair, that the war on drugs has failed by creating an underground economy that fuels crime and violence and makes it that much harder for drug abusers to seek help.
What do you think?