Enemy of Marijuana – Richard Nixon
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 theDEA 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.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) is a non-profit organization whose aim is to reduce demand for illegal drugs through advertising. They are famous for ads such as “This is your brain on drugs”. PDFA began in 1986 to “unsell” drugs to the American public. Putting to use all major media outlets, including TV, radio, print advertisements and the Internet, along with the pro-bono work of the country’s best advertising agencies, the Partnership’s anti-drug messages have been able to reach the public on local and national levels for the past 20 years.
The PDFA receives its funding from major pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol corporations. These include:
- American Brands (Jim Beam whiskey)
- Philip Morris (Marlboro and Virginia Slims cigarettes, Miller beer)
- Anheuser Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Busch beer)
- R.J. Reynolds (Camel, Salem, Winston cigarettes)
- Bristol Meyers-Squibb, Merck & Company and Proctor & Gamble (pharmaceuticals)
- Dupont (munitions, chemicals, everything)
It is obvious why they focus heavily on illegal drugs in their campaigns. The ads are pure propaganda. In the past several ads have been removed because of blatantly false claims. They currently focus on the amotivational syndrome even though it is not generally accepted by the scientific community. On the abovetheinfluence.com website there is a section called “Stoners in the Mist” which features cannabis users unable to perform even the most basic tasks such as moving, talking, bathing, and even recalling one’s own name. They have taken amotivational syndrome to a new level. Here is a commercial from a recent campaign:
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has been lying to the public for two decades. It is suspicious how PDFA leaves alcohol and tobacco out of its list of “drugs of abuse”. There are no statistics to back up PDFA’s claim that cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, mushrooms, peyote, hashish, and a few other illegal drugs create anywhere near the havoc in society that is created by alcohol, tobacco, and doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. It is ironic that their sponsors produce the substances that account for the majority of drug related deaths. PDFA anti-drug partner Merck, for example, was marketing Vioxx until news organizations reported that the anti-arthritis drug was apparently causing heart attacks, strokes and sudden death. As has been the case with other high-profile pharmaceutical drug recalls, Merck has been accused of falsifying, jiggling or withholding data that cast doubts on their product’s safety.
- The term prison-industrial complex refers to all of the businesses and organizations involved in the construction, operation, and promotion of correctional facilities and the services they provide. Such groups include private corrections companies, corporations that contract prison labour, construction companies, surveillance technology vendors, and the lobbyists and interest groups that plurally represent them. Private prisons began in the 1980s but they really took off in 1990 under Clinton.
The prison industry is the most profitable sector in the US economy today. Consider the growth of the Corrections Corporation of America, the industry leader whose stock price has climbed from $8 a share in 1992 to about $30 today and whose revenue rose by 81 per cent in 1995 alone. Investors in Wackenhut Corrections Corp. have enjoyed an average return of 18 per cent during the past five years and the company is rated by Forbes as one of the top 200 small businesses in the country. At Esmor, another big private prison contractor, revenues have soared from $4.6 million in 1990 to more than $25 million in 1995. The list of companies investing in the prison industry contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. The stock price for these major corporations is representative of the number of people in jail. That is a sign of very sick society.
The prison-industrial complex makes approximately 40 billion dollars per year. This entire industry is based on an essentially limitless raw material – prisoners. Just like all massive American corporations the big prison corporations hire big time lobbyists. In 1995, Wackenhut Chairman Tim Cole testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge support for amendments to the Violent Crime Control Act — which subsequently passed — that authorized the expenditure of $10 billion to construct and repair state prisons. The relationship between these corporations and US politicians ensures the prisons will be kept full. These corporations answer directly to their shareholders who want one thing and one thing only – profit. That means cutting costs everywhere possible. As a result private prisons have much worse conditions than their government run counterparts.
In the two decades since the prison boom began crime rates have remained the same while icarceration rates have increased exponentially. Prison populations soared through the 1980s and into the 1990s, making the U.S. the unquestioned world leader in jailing its own populace. By 1990, 421 Americans out of every 100,000 were behind bars, easily outdistancing their closest competitors, South Africa and the then USSR. By 1992, the U.S. rate had climbed to 455. Reagan’s Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 added mandatory minimum sentances for simple drug possesion and trafficing. The war on drugs is the lifeblood of the prison-industrial complex and they won’t let it go without a fight.
Emily Murphy is known as a hero for women’s rights. She is credited along with four other women (the famous five) for the “persons case” in which it was ruled in 1927 that women were “qualified persons” to sit on the senate. She was also the first female magistrate in Canada and the British empire. There are statues of her throughout Canada and she currently appears on the $50 bill.
In addition to her fight for women’s equality she was extremely racist and the driving force behind Canada’s first marijuana law. How can a person who fights sexism and promotes racism be considered a hero? It is the same issue. Murphy wrote a series of articles in Maclean’s magazine in the early 1920s under the pen name “Janey Canuck”. These articles were extremely racially biased and sensationalized drug use in Canada. The articles were later compiled into a book called “the Black Candle”. It was based entirely on Murphy’s experience in Alberta courts and several visits to Vancouver. This quote is from one of those visits
If Chinese are allowed to live like rats in a cellar, what else can be expected?
She demonized drugs and the drug users equally. The book continually points at the Chinese for the root of the entire drug problem as well as for corrupting white women. One section describes two well off younh women who were lured into the “drug ring” by a smooth talking Chinaman and addiction to cocaine. Here is another quote
We naturally classify these traitors (Chinese) as men of fishy blood who might easily be guilty of any enormity no matter how villainous. We execrate [loathe intensely] them and take upon ourselves a kind of depart-ye-cursed attitude
Much of the effects of opium addiction she wrote about are true but very much sensationalized. She continued the same trend with her chapter called “Marahuana – a new menace”. Since it was basically unknown in North America she had no actual experience with the effects or users. She described the effects, poorly, based on folklore. Cannabis is treated as though is not only equal but more dangerous than opium and cocaine. A quote from this chapter
Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city, said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp, grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic law. He says, “Persons using this narcotic, smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.
The chapter ends with this
It has been pointed out that there are three ways out from the regency of this addiction: 1st—Insanity. 2nd—Death. 3rd—Abandonment. This is assuredly a direful trinity and one with which the public should be cognizant in order that they may be warned of the sharp danger that lies in even curiously tasting poisons which have been inhibited, or which are habit-forming.
Although Murphy was not an authority on drugs her book was the influence for the inclusion of marijuanathe Opium and Narcotic Drug Act of 1923 which made cannabis illegal in Canada. Tobacco was also on the table but Mackenzie King argued that it was not addictive. Whipping and deportation were added to the law by Emily’s request.
You can read the Black Candle online here: Black Candle Online
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is an international treaty administered by the UN. It was signed in 1961 and basically combined several existing treaties regulating international drug laws. As of 2005 the Single Convention had 180 Parties. The Convention created the familiar four Schedules of controlled substances and a process for adding new substances to the Schedules without amending the treaty. The Schedules were designed to have significantly stricter regulations than the two drug “Groups” established by predecessor treaties. For the first time, cannabis was added to the list of internationally controlled drugs.
The treaty was the brainchild of Harry Anslinger. That name should send goosebumps down any pot supporter’s spine; I’ll write a post on him in the future. He was basically a one man show who made marijuana illegal and used the mass media to create a negative image for the plant. Riding high on the success of his marijuana tax act of 1937 Anslinger set his sights on the international stage. Using the influence of the United States to his advantage he convinced the UN to go ahead with this new treaty which served the interests of his cannabis vendetta.
The Single Convention has been extremely influential in standardizing national drug control laws. Article 36 requires Parties to criminalize “cultivation, production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, possession, offering, offering for sale, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, importation and exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention,”
Article 36 requires Parties to criminalize “cultivation, production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, possession, offering, offering for sale, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, importation and exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention,” as well as “[i]ntentional participation in, conspiracy to commit and attempts to commit, any of such offences, and preparatory acts and financial operations in connexion with the offences referred to in this article”. The Article also provides for extradition of drug offenders. Signed countries must control all drugs of abuse at least as strictly as required by the Single Convention. Regulations vary significantly around the globe. Countries such as Singapore and Malaysia impose capitol punishment for offences exceeding a certain weight; 15 g of heroin, 30 g of cocaine or 500 g of cannabis in Sinapore. Some countries seldom prosecute minor offences or not at all in the case of the Netherlands.
The Single Convention places the same restrictions on cannabis cultivation that it does on opium cultivation. It is required that each member nation establish a government agency to control cultivation. In Canada that is health canada and NIDA in the US. Industrial hemp is excluded from these provisions but in the US the DEA has made it extremely un-profitable. There have been numerous attempts to remove cannabis from schedule IV (most restrictive) due to its medical applications. To date little progress has been made.