When Nixon declared the war on drugs, it broke up the foundation of the Black community and antiwar left with non-violent drug offenses being associated with those communities. Nixon’s domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman admits to the following about the “war on drugs”: “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.” (Harper’s Magazine)
Drug Policy Alliance is now releasing a legislative framework to end the criminalization of those who use drugs, in ending the vilification of something that is a public health issue, not a legal one.