It’s been 4 decades since the initial assault against ‘illegal’ narcotics – its 2012 and nothing has changed. Instead of Nixon’s “War on Drugs,” today we have Obama’s “Obamadness.” The war on drugs hasn’t been successful, however the upgrade on the corny catch-phrase was.
Forty years ago, to this day – July 14th, 1969 – is the anniversary when President Richard Nixon dubbed the “War on Drugs,” which includes marijuana. Nixon said to Congress that addiction was “public enemy number one,” and it should be high on their list — over education and unemployment.
Nixon was blunt. In his actions against drugs, he saw dope users as hedonist criminals that deserve punishment — Said actions against drugs were not because of a civil duty to better society, more of a witch-hunt. By changing public image, Nixon cleverly made us think that certain “drug” users (marijuana patients) were devious, AK 47 carrying thugs threatening American security, which justified Nixon’s actions.
Four decades and counting, society is still impoverished and drugs are still found at every corner, could we be blunt and say the “War on Drugs” has failed in joint with poverty. This bloody war has battled in the streets, trickled into the courts and ended in the jail system; with no apparent end. So called “developing” nations have been hindered by this war – ravaging Colombia, ripping apart Mexico and is eyeing Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Afghanistan and Central America. While fought in the barrios, it has destroyed lands and created more poverty within already poor areas.
How much of this carnage could be lifted if cannabis — weed, pot, herb, mary jane, ganja, reefer, or whatever you call the marijuana plant — was decriminalized?
The United States has splurged well over $1 trillion, tax-payer dollars on the “War on Drugs” since its cultivation – minus the billions “donated” to other governments for their fight against drugs. The U.S. will be sending a gift package of $20 billion more dollars to other governments this year. Thanks to the their high, northern neighbor; Mexico has received technical assistance, equipment and training in their joint effort of battling drugs, especially weed. Price tag: $408 million dollars with an additional $500 million streaming to them this year. In 2010 alone, the Federal Government spent $15 billion on the war, with local and state dipping $25 billion into taxpayers pockets. This is an average of $500 each second — high amounts of taxpayer money going away like a puff of cannabis smoke.
Police have made more drug-related arrests than for any other violation since 2009; the year there was a record high of 1,663,582 arrests for drug violations – with estimates showing 2012 will surpass those numbers. Of those 1.6 million arrests in ’09, 1/2 were marijuana violations and 89% were solely detained for possession. About every 30 seconds, an American is rolled up by police for violating cannabis laws. Since 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown as high as 44 thousand inmates a year; 1/4 being punished for drug violations.
According to the UNODC, it’s estimated that the global marijuana market is roughly 125 billion since 2003 – having the US as its biggest stoner nation. During that time, millions of pot smokers have been helped by the exponential health benefits of marijuana. Ongoing numbers reflect that retail medical marijuana expenditures surpassed 40 billion last year.
During the early 1970s, the fight against drug abuse reached all the realms that worried youth society during that time: the economy, poverty, employment, education and Vietnam — all of which were “coincidentally” used in Nixon’s agenda on drugs.
It’s 2012 and little has changed. Violence and poverty can be seen running rampant in any facet of daily life.
Is it time for America to roll up their sleeves and cultivate a change in their antiquated policies on drugs and stop the carnage — marijuana has been sitting on the shelves as a Schedule-1 drug for way too long.