The Drug War has failed the world. In 1971, American President Richard Nixon declared drugs to be America’s number 1 public enemy. This disastrous decision has had an oppressive effect mostly on people of color: more specifically, Black Americans.
In a rare interview with Harper’s Magazine, Nixon’s Chief Domestic Policy advisor confessed:
“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,” Ehrlichman said. “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.”
This statement is unfortunately true, as collected evidence has heavily shown the cold hard facts of the most victimized of the Drug War:
• Nearly 80% of people in federal prison and almost 60% of people in state prison for drug offenses are Black or Latino.
• Research shows that prosecutors are twice as likely to pursue a mandatory minimum sentence for black people as for white people charged with the same offense. Among people who received a mandatory minimum sentence in 2011, 38% were Latino and 31% were Black.
• Black people and Native Americans are more likely to be killed by law enforcement than other racial or ethnic groups. They are often stereotyped as being violent or addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Experts believe that stigma and racism may play major roles in police-community interactions.
• People of color experience discrimination at every stage of the criminal legal system and are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, harshly sentenced and saddled with a lifelong criminal record. This is particularly the case for drug law violations.
While people of all color have been reported to have been unfairly punished for drug offenses, the overwhelming evidence mentioned in the highlighted groups above have been well documented and known to be fact.
On the more global scale of things, the US has bullishly enforced its “moral crusade” on nearly
every part of the world. While some countries have recently began to reform cannabis laws, the question must be asked… why doesn’t the US legalize and encourage the world to participate and create in this new economy?
Countries like Ghana, Republic of the Congo and Uganda have centuries old cannabis cultivation traditions, and as developing countries would benefit from the birth of a new industry along with eager global buyers looking to experience exotic botanical products. Such a boom would surely help lift many out of poverty, especially as so many cannabis farmers in these mentioned areas come from poorer, rural areas.
The reason why these forbidden botanicals are so suppressed is partly due to the massive lobbying of the pharmaceutical industries (especially in America) who manufacture pain medicines, such as fentanyl and stimulants like Adderall, along with a cornucopia of synthetic drugs that some say do more harm than good.
In 2021 alone:
Pfizer’s PAC (political action committee) singlehandedly contributed to 228 lawmakers. Not only that, Amgen’s PAC donated to 218, meaning that each company helped to fund the campaigns of nearly half the lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Overall, the sector donated $14 million.
That’s a lot of money! That’s also two thirds of Congress that received a big pharma check!
But what interest would they have in suppressing cannabis and other botanicals?
Their monopoly relies on pain meds more specifically, but plants like cannabis could be cheap to grow if legal. It doesn’t take much for someone to grow a big plant, harvest it, then extract the oil from the material and craft their own potent painkillers. It’s merely the profits these big corporations are afraid of losing; they realize cannabinoids can have varied applications, and each one can protect against different threats to the human body.
Big Pharma has been seen donating against medical marijuana and especially recreational marijuana numerous times, most notably in Arizona, 2014.
The pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics also cited concerns for child safety with a $500,000 contribution, making it the largest donor to Arizona’s anti-legalization drive.
Also in Florida 2014, Big Pharma shill AND “drug rehabilitation center” owner Sheldon Addelson donated over 6.5 million to unsuccessfully stop the use of medical marijuana in Florida.
But does the Drug War actually HELP drug addicted users?
Not at all!
Multiple studies like the one in Jan 2021 from Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center and the Maryland Department of Health found that there was a 12% increase in overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2020, compared with the same period a year earlier: 2,025 versus 1,806 in 2019. Nationally, opioid deaths are up by over 38%, while deaths from cocaine overdose are up by 26% and methamphetamine by 35%.
This indicates that arresting people for using drugs is NOT working. It only worsens the suffering of those addicted since instead of treating it as a public health issue, the criminalization merely exacerbates feelings of hopelessness and despair by placing people in jail cells. This is counter-productive and inhumane.
Luckily, times are changing and we now see more and more countries adopting reform measures for drug laws. We live in a time of having heaps of information at our fingertips, info that has changed the minds of many – even those in power. As a result we will one day soon see at least the legalization of cannabis… and then hopefully all drugs.
The social ills of drug abuse will never completely be averted, due to them stemming from the human condition of depression and other deep-rooted mental health issues in which the temptation to use drugs is most rampant.
Because of this, we would be far better off if, as a society, we helped those involved in drug abuse and stopped indirectly funding criminal organizations into manufacturing unregulated and often dangerous drugs for vulnerable people. This would also be much more humane.
What would you rather have… the government/a private enterprise safely manufacturing and distributing drugs like heroin and meth in a safe environment, or dark underworld organizations involved in cartel killings and other atrocities taking control of the black market, becoming billionaires, and hurting the vulnerable with poisoned products?
Even botanicals such as hemp, kratom, kava and pscilocybin mushrooms have forced the most hardened drug warrior to question the validity of draconian drug laws and begin to see the powerhouse of medicinal benefits these plants contain.
The choice is ours. Luckily we’re in a new age, and the future looks bright.