Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jul 2016
Source: Chico News & Review, The (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: William Todd-Mancillas


The War on Drugs did not begin with the Nixon administration, but it 
certainly accelerated with the passing of the Controlled Substances 
Act (1970). Subsequently, the Reagan and Bush administrations 
injected the war with steroids (Chasing the Scream, 2016; The New Jim 
Crow, 2010).

Nixon professed the war was necessary because drugs threatened 
society, were highly addictive and devastating to health. He made no 
distinction between heroin, which is indeed highly addictive and 
deleterious, and marijuana, which is not. In truth, Nixon's reasons 
were spiteful. Blacks and hippies were Nixon's betes noires. He was 
furious that they demonstrated against the Vietnam War and agitated 
for civil rights. Nixon's actual intent is evidenced by this quote 
from his domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman, in 1994: "By getting 
the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with 
heroin ... we could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up 
their meetings, and vilify them night after night.... Did we know we 
were lying about the drugs? Of course we did." (Harpers, July 1, 2016.)

In November, Californians will have an opportunity to negate Nixon's 
malfeasance and the Reagan and Bush administrations' mean-spirited, 
profligate anti-drug campaigns. Vote "yes" on the marijuana referendum!

William Todd-Mancillas

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