Today marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition II – the Drug War, and as to be expected there are a number of articles (and a very nice video) out this week, most from sources you’re expect, and a couple you will be surprised to see. As I’m not one to reinvent the wheel, I present you with a digest of today’s articles and videos commemorating the occasion.
From the Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee Mark Hinkle:
“On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a ‘War on Drugs,’ which has become a relentless violation of the lives and property of Americans, including many who have never taken illegal drugs. These violations continue under President Barack Obama, an admitted former cocaine user who has shown no hesitation in throwing people into prison — a punishment he might have suffered had he been caught. Moreover, although promising to respect medical marijuana use in states where voters have approved it, the Obama administration has already conducted close to 100 raids on patients, growers, and compassion centers in those states.
“It only took Americans 14 years to realize the insanity of Prohibition I. Both practical considerations and simple human decency demand that our government end Prohibition II now.”
by Laurence M. Vance
Although the U.S. government’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken center stage for the better part of the last ten years, there is another failed war that has been waged by the federal government for the past forty years.
The war on drugs was declared by President Richard Nixon on June 17, 1971.
Speaking at a press conference in the Briefing Room at the White House, Nixon announced his plan:
I would like to summarize for you the meeting that I have just had with the bipartisan leaders which began at 8 o’clock and was completed 2 hours later. I began the meeting by making this statement, which I think needs to be made to the Nation: America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.
Obama’s Drug Czar Says He Ended “War on Drugs” Two Years Ago
Cops Hand-Deliver Report to Drug Czar’s Office While Czar Refuses to Meet
WASHINGTON, DC — In conjunction with this week’s 40th anniversary of President Nixon declaring “war on drugs,” a group of police, judges and jailers who support legalization released a report today showing how the Obama administration is ramping up a war it disingenuously claims that it ended two years ago.
Following the report’s release at a press conference this morning, the pro-legalization law enforcers attempted to hand-deliver a copy to Obama administration drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who is a former Seattle chief of police. Instead of making time to listen to the concerns of fellow law enforcers who have dedicated their careers to protecting public safety, he simply sent a staffer to the lobby to receive a copy of the cops’ report.
Posted by Tim Lynch
It was 40 years ago today that President Richard Nixon said the “drug menace” had reached the dimensions of a “national emergency.” Nixon asked Congress to allocate $155 million to fight drug abuse and requested a new central office in the White House to coordinate governmental efforts on the problem. Thus began the modern drug war. It’s true that criminal laws were already in place in many jurisdictions, but it was Nixon’s call for a “new, all-out offensive” that really started to ramp things up. Each year brought calls for more money–and that meant more police, more raids, more wiretaps, more arrests, and more prisons. And more foreign intervention.
Marijuana Policy Project
by Morgan Fox
Last week, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, an international organization consisting of high level current and former heads of state and policy experts, released a report suggesting world governments give up the war on drugs and consider more rational harm-reduction policies, including removing all criminal penalties for the possession and use of marijuana. The Commission, which included former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, among many others, urged leaders to consider alternatives to incarceration for drug use to shift their focus toward treatment of drug abusers, rather than punishment and interdiction for recreational users.
TV News Report on the Global Commission on Drug Policy’s recent report with Marijuana Policy Project’s Robert Capecchi.
By JIMMY CARTER
June 16, 2011
IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.
The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.
These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”
By Leonard Pitts Jr.
Dear President Obama:
Right after your election, somebody asked if I thought having a black president meant black people’s concerns would now receive attention at the executive level. I told them I expected the opposite.
There used to be a saying – only Nixon could go to China. Meaning, of course, that only he, as a staunch anti-communist, had the credibility to make overtures to that nation without accusations of being soft on communism. By the inverse of that political calculus, I never expected that you, as a black man, would do much to address black issues.
And the limitations of your presidency where African Americans are concerned have never been more obvious than they are this week.
On Friday it will be 40 years since the aforementioned President Nixon asked Congress for $155 million to combat a problem he said had “assumed the dimensions of a national emergency.” Thus was born the War on Drugs.
Seven presidents later, the war grinds on. And if it has made even a dent in drug use, you could not prove it by me — nor, I would wager, by most observers.
The Indiana Cannabis Action Network shared this link and news with us:
“Today, the Legislative Council approved a resolution adopting a variety of topics for study, including:
* Indiana’s criminal laws regarding marijuana – Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee…”
Read the full article here: 2011 Study Committees announced