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Clinton, says Pot Smoking should be Legal

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LOS ANGELES, Dec 6 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton, who tried to avoid the
stigma of smoking marijuana by saying he never "inhaled," tells Rolling Stone
magazine that people should not be jailed for using or selling small amounts
of the drug.

In an interview with the rock magazine released on Wednesday, Clinton was
asked if he thought that "people should go to jail for using or even selling
small amounts of marijuana?"

Clinton, who raised eyebrows in the 1992 presidential primary campaign when
he admitted trying the drug but adding he didn't inhale, told the magazine,
"I think that most small amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized in
some places, and should be."

He added, "We really need a reexamination of our entire policy on
imprisonment. Some people deliberately hurt other people and they ought to be
in jail because they can't be trusted to be on the streets. Some people do
things that are so serious that that they have to be put in jail to
discourage other people from doing similar things.

"But a lot of people are in prison because they have drug problems or alcohol
problems and too many of them are getting out

-- particularly out of state systems -- without treatment, without education,
without skills, without serious efforts at job placement."

The interview, to be published on Friday, only weeks before Clinton leaves
office, was conducted during the presidential campaign and Clinton made a
prediction that has not come true and may not come true -- that Vice
President Al Gore would carry Florida.

"Gore will win Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan. I always thought Gore
would win Florida. We worked like crazy there for eight years. And we've done
a lot for Florida and a lot with Florida -- and Joe Lieberman has helped a
lot in Florida. So I think Gore will win." That matter is still in the courts
even though Florida has certified Republican George W. Bush the winner.

In the interview, Clinton also blamed his impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky
scandal on the work of a right-wing Congress and said special prosecutor
Kenneth Starr "did what he was paid to."

He added, "The right wing was in control of the Congress and ... they thought
they had a free shot to put a hit on me, and so they did. I don't think it's