In the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of the war on drugs, I've never heard a politician, scientist, filmmaker or journalist tell my story. That's odd, because I believe my experience with illegal drugs is by far the most common. I'm a former casual drug user who thinks illegal drugs should remain illegal. I'm not exactly anybody's poster boy for the war on drugs. I've experienced very little hardship because of drugs.
A Brief Global History of the War on Cannabis
War on Drugs | History & Mass Incarceration | Britannica
From its earliest origins, the War on Drugs was designed to target racial minorities through arrest and incarceration. The War on Drugs was officially launched by Richard Nixon in , but even long before that, laws restricting the use of specific substances were deliberately aimed at one minority or another who were disliked by the dominant culture. For instance, some of the first laws prohibiting psychoactive substances in the United States were passed in California prohibiting opium, which was popular with Chinese immigrants there. San Francisco passed an ordinance in making it a misdemeanor to own or visit an opium den. Many cities followed suit, and, by , a statewide ban was enacted. Alcohol prohibition was fueled by similar ethnic tension.
Ending the War on Drugs: By the Numbers
I want a Goddamn strong statement on marijuana … I mean one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them. Before the war on drugs put marijuana farmers firmly in its crosshairs, cannabis was being grown openly and with commercial success on every continent on earth, much as it had been for centuries. This ancient and extensive history of cannabis farming has given rise to the idea that prohibitions put in place in the midth century were the first of their kind — a whirlwind of racial, political, and economic forces that successfully used marijuana prohibition as a pretext for suppression.
We never call it any of those things, though all of them fit. No, we call it the War on Drugs. It is a year, trillion-dollar disaster that has done nothing — underscore that: absolutely nothing — to stem the inexhaustible supply of, and insatiable demand for, illegal narcotics. So any reason to hope sanity might assert itself is cause for celebration.