Anyone who has seriously studied the American War on Drugs has at very least suspected that it's origins and true motivations are more complex than publicly stated.

Despite the fact that rates of both use and selling of illegal drugs is similar across all races, blacks and latinos are are far more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for these crimes. And this is not some conspiracy theory - the US Government's own research has verified it.

It was recently revealed that in an interview in 1994, an advisor to former US president Richard Nixon told journalist Dan Baum that the Nixon administration created the War on Drugs specifically to criminalize black people and the anti-war left.

I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Baum's story in Harper's, Legalize It All, uses this revelation as the foundation to argue that the only rational, compassionate solution to drug problems in our society is to legalize and regulate all drugs - a lesson we perhaps should have already learned from our experience with alcohol prohibition.

For an excellent summary of why the drug war has not, will not, and cannot succeed, please check out the video below from YouTube channel Kurtgezagt - In a Nutshell

Source: Harper's

Image: DEA.gov

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Chris Cox

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