WASHINGTON, DC -- President Clinton is a "shameless hypocrite"
for advocating the decriminalization of marijuana in a new Rolling
Stone magazine interview -- after he stood by silently as 4 million
Americans were arrested on marijuana charges during his administration,
the Libertarian Party said today.

"Shame on Bill Clinton for remaining silent for so long," said
Steve Dasbach, the party's national director. "Where was this shameless
hypocrite for the last eight years, as millions of Americans were
arrested -- and tens of thousands were jailed -- for using a drug that
Clinton himself used, and now admits should be decriminalized?"

In the December 28 issue of Rolling Stone, Clinton strongly
criticized the War on Drugs in general and marijuana laws in
particular.

In the interview, conducted days before the November election,
the president asserted that "we really need a re-examination of our
entire policy on imprisonment" of drug users, and said marijuana use
"should be decriminalized."

The remarks are "frankly, shocking," said Dasbach, because
Clinton has waged a more vicious War on Marijuana than any other
president in U.S. history.

* Since Clinton assumed office, 4,175,357 Americans have been
arrested on marijuana charges, according to FBI figures -- 88% of them
for simple possession.

* The number of people arrested for marijuana increased during
seven of the eight years that Clinton has been president, climaxing in
a record 704,812 arrests in 1999.

* Approximately 36,560 people are in jail today after being
convicted solely of marijuana charges, according to the Washington, DC-
based Marijuana Policy Project.

* Clinton has "even taken the lead in prosecuting AIDS and
cancer victims who use medical marijuana, and the doctors who prescribe
it," said Dasbach. After California voters passed a statewide medical
marijuana initiative in 1996, Clinton ordered his drug czar, Barry
McCaffrey, to threaten California doctors with federal prosecution and
loss of their licenses if they recommended the drug to their patients.

Given these facts, said Dasbach, it's odd that Clinton chose to
speak out against marijuana laws just a few weeks before he left
office.

"Why did Clinton remain uncharacteristically silent for eight
years as more than 4 million Americans were arrested, handcuffed, and
hauled down to the police station?" asked Dasbach.

"And why did he continue his silence as thousands of Americans
every day watched their lives, families, and careers destroyed by a
crime that Clinton now admits shouldn't be a crime at all? Perhaps
because Bill Clinton always cared far more about his own political
viability than he ever did about doing what's right -- which makes him
a coward with a capital C."

However, it's not too late for Clinton to redeem himself, said
Dasbach.

"Instead of simply suggesting a re-examination of drug laws,
Clinton should spend his remaining days as president trying to repair
the damage he's done -- starting with a public apology and a
presidential pardon for every American who has been victimized by
marijuana laws," he said. "If Clinton really means what he said, it's
his last chance to put justice above politics."