The cover story in the April 2016 edition of Harper’s Magazine titled, “Legalize it all” with the subtitle “How to Win the War on Drugs” written by Dan Baum recalls an interview with President Nixon aide John Ehrlichman. Mister Baum was asking questions about the politics of drug prohibition and as he tells it, Ehrlichman asked, “You want to know what this was really all about?” He went on to say, “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.”
Around this time Nixon had appointed the Shafer Commission to report on the drug situation and to make recommendations. It‘s overall recommendation was the that drugs were a medical problem and not a criminal one. Nixon felt betrayed by the commission and proceeded to prosecute the prohibitionist policy we have today, besides he had other uses for the ‘War on Drugs’ not the least of which was harassing his political enemies.
The resulting death, destruction and misery caused by this decision cannot be calculated, over 40 years of a war created solely for the benefit of one man and one party with arrest and incarceration of hundreds of thousands of our citizens every year. Over the last 15 years there have been over 600,000 arrests for drugs every year! Our jails are overflowing with the enemies of the President even decades after Nixon, who gave us this disaster, is dead.
This all begs the question, why are we still persecuting Nixon’s political enemies? There is ample proof this policy was enacted for political reasons and that it’s prosecution is a scam and a total failure. What can be the justification for keeping it going?
Kentucky’s legislators need to explain why, with 75% of our citizens favoring passage of a medical marijuana bill this session, they are blocking reform and why they wish to continue to harass and prosecute Nixon’s political enemies especially since he and his enemies are dead by now?
There is no hiding, there is no justifiable excuse for these legislators to block reform unless, they wish to keep piling on the misery of drug prohibition for their own personal political reasons and care not for the welfare of the citizens they represent!