Harry Ansliger spread the hate on marijuana and essentially began the criminalization of marijuana worldwide. Richard Nixon took it to the extreme. In June 1971 Nixon declared the war on drugs which took the drug policy of the United States worldwide. Nixon and his supporters lableled illegal drugs as public enemy number one in the United States. Nixon also created the DEA and increased penalties for marijuana. The United State’s first action in the drug war was a massive surprise attack on Mexico’s border by U.S. law enforcement personnel, code named “Operation Intercept.” In September 1969 Nixon essentially shut down the US-Mexico border under the premise of disrupting the marijuana trade. Each and every vehicle crossing the boarder was given a 3 minute intensive search. The operation lasted only 20 days after border delays severly affected the economies of both countries. The amound of drugs seized was much less than Nixon expected but that was not the true purpose for the unilateral action. It was to coerce Mexico into funding a domestic drug eradication and enforcement policy in which Operation Intercept was a success. Decptive and coercive tactics are the hallmarck of the US war on drugs which continues to this day.
Operation Intercept was the first drug related unilateral action against another country by the United States. It symbolizes the US ‘s inability to accept responsibility for it’s own drug problem. Instead the US government blames other countries which produce and distribute illegal drugs to the growing black market inside the borders of the United States.
In 1970 the Nixon government passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act which included the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA created the five schedules which are used today in compliance to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The CSA increased the search and seizure powers of law enforcement and established a major federal scientific inquiry called the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (aka the Shafer Commission). Marijuana was placed in Schedule 1 of the new law which is the most restrictive. Crack cocaine and crystal meth are listed under Schedule 2 . The criteria for a drug to be placed in Schedule 1 as defined by the law are,
- The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
- The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
- There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Marijuana’s inclusion in Shedule 1 was to be temporary pending the results of the Shafer commission. When the commission released its findings to President Nixon in 1972 he was not pleased. The Shafer report found, “Neither the marijuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.” The report also found that marijuana use caused “no significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities,” and that “most users, young and old, demonstrate an average or above-average degree of social functioning, academic achievement, and job performance.” The Shafer commission also recomended that marijuana be decriminalized and at least be removed from its Scedule 1 status. Nixon refused to even read the report and stated in a press conference,
“I am against legalizing marijuana. Even if the Commission does recommend that it be legalized, I will not follow that recommendation.”
In March 1973 Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency. Until that time federal drug enforcement was handled by several different groups. The new “super agency” was consolidated from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), Customs, the CIA and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE). The DEA is the worst agency ever created. They have abolutely failed in ever part of their job. Demand for illegal drugs has climbed uninterrupted since 1973, prices have not gone up and criminal gangs reap higher profits than ever. Since its creation the DEA has succeeded in one thing, wasting vast sums of money. The DEA budget has increased anually from $75 million in 1973 to $2.5 billion in 2009 (from the DEA website)
Richard Nixon used extensivce propaganda to literally brainwash the US to hate marijuana. He was the first US President to formally seek media support in spreading drug war propaganda. In 1970, Nixon held a special White House meeting with senior executives and producers from the major TV networks and ad agencies, who were collectively responsible for over 90% of prime-time television. Nixon showed them “shocking” films about narcotics addiction, and then asked them to help America survive the scourge of drugs. Popular shows like Hawaii Five-O, The Mod Squad andMarcus Welby, MD soon began featuring anti-drug storylines. Nixon then met with senior radio executives, with similar results. Within a year Nixon’s drug war had received an unprecedented $37 million in free advertising, a figure which has grown steadily every year since. Government officials now claim the average American child sees over 140 anti-drug ads each year, and the anti-drug theme is incorporated ever more deeply into mainstream entertainment, including movies, music and TV.
The Nixon regime squached the marijuana decriminalization movement. When Nixon came into office 11 states had decriminalized marijuana and many more were considering relaxation of marijuana laws. The General Social Survey showed close to 30 percent support for outright legalization of marijuana. The science was in, reports like the Shafer and Le Dain commissions showed that marijuana was not dangerous, addictive or anything else the government said it was. Just like today legalization seemed imminent. Nixon’s methods of propaganda and continued enthusaism for the war on drugs delivered a heavy blow to the anti-prohibition movement. Just before Nixon’s second term the Watergate scandal erupted. He was busted in a conspiracy that involved spying on the Democrats in order to keep him in office. Read the whole story here. As a result of the investigation Richard Nixon was the first American president in history to resign. Nixon was a crook and a liar. Although he was forced out of office his legacy continues to this day. The drug war is still tearing society apart and marijuana is still listed in Schedule 1 despite overwhelming scientific evidence that shows it does not fit the criteria. The DEA continues to grow and people still hate marijuana. From the late Hunter S Thompson,
Richard Nixon has never been one of my favorite people anyway. For years I’ve regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosones that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad.