Nixon's Lie: The Real Reason For The War On Drugs
2 min

Nixon's Lie: The Real Reason For The War On Drugs

2 min
Legislation News
Richard Nixon wasn’t exactly the most popular president of the US; he already had a tarnished reputation. But it just got muddier, as the real reason for the War on Drugs is revealed.

The War on Drugs has been one of the biggest banes of global society over the last four decades, accounting for untold amounts of death, incarceration, and misery. It all started with one man, Richard Nixon. Back in the early 70’s, US President Nixon started a campaign against drugs and drug culture, naming it public enemy number one. At the time, many thought he had society’s best interests at heart, and no-one could foresee the inevitable damage this global crusade would cause. However, new evidence has arisen to suggest even the foundation of this devastating travesty was created with ill-will and ulterior motives… surprise, surprise!

Dan Baum, a writer who recently published a case in favour of ending the War on Drugs in Harper, has released a shocking quote from Nixon’s policy advisor John Ehrlichman, outlining the true reason Nixon started the War on Drugs:

“At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. ‘You want to know what this was really all about?’ he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. ‘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 [for being] 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.

I must have looked shocked. Ehrlichman just shrugged. Then he looked at his watch, handed me a signed copy of his steamy spy novel, The Company, and led me to the door.”

It is one of the most damning insights into the War on Drugs we have ever seen. The USA alone makes up 25% of the world’s prison population, and the majority of those are incarcerated for drug offences. The level of incarceration of non-violent drug offenders is so severe that incarceration has become an industry, with prisons and police forces relying on drug-related arrests to secure their budgets. All because one man and his crooked ambition.

Yet at the same time, while shocking, this news hardly comes as a surprise. It does not take a particularly developed imagination to see the most conservative elements of society tactically using drugs as a scapegoat to further their agenda. With regards to Nixon, it is no surprise at all, considering he is a well-accounted racist.

Which drug sits at the head of this war, yet is probably the least harmful of all? Cannabis of course. The widespread use of cannabis has been an excellent tool for fearmongering and political manoeuvring. Without its illegal status, the War on Drugs would crumble – people just don’t use other drugs enough for it to be a classed severe threat. As stated by Ira Glasser, former chair of the American Civil Liberates Union:

“Without marijuana, the use of drugs is negligible, and you can’t justify the law-enforcement and prison spending on the other drugs. Their use is vanishingly small. I always thought that if you could cut the marijuana head off the beast, the drug war couldn’t be sustained.”

The prohibitionist standpoint that has shaped modern society over the last 40 years has been a lie. This latest damning evidence is just the latest nail in the coffin of this antiquated ideology. It is time for the war to end. Let us hope a change is around the corner.



Written by: Josh
Writer, psychonaut and cannabis aficionado, Josh is Zamnesia’s in-house expert. He spends his days nestled out in the countryside, delving into the hidden depths of all things psychoactive in nature.

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