The DEA schedule of narcotics — in which cannabis is classifed alongside heroin — was a product of the Nixon era, when the modern War On Drugs started cranking up. Tricky Dick himself, on a leaked White House tape, was said to have called marijuana “…the drug of choice of Mexicans, hippies and niggers.”
Here’s former White House Domestic Affairs Advisor, the notorious John Ehrlichman, with a slightly more nuanced framing of this policy in a 1994 interview:
“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.”
–John Ehrlichman, Nixon Domestic Affairs Advisor, 1994
The DEA schedule is Nixon’s schedule, part of a policy born out of deception and racism. It’s time to DEschedule cannabis.
We’ll be at the White House on May 20, how about yourself?
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The initial decision to criminalize marijuana in 1937 wasn’t based on a study of the science and biology of addiction or pharmacology, but purely on politics and racism. Harry Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — precursor to today’s DEA — was a notorious racist and liar who based his opinions on marijuana on pure, raw racist stereotypes and who believed that marijuana was a sure gateway to violence, sedition and social discontent. It was Anslinger’s inflammatory lies which led to the passage of state marijuana laws as a component of Jim Crow and stoked the hype for propaganda films such as Marihuana: The Devil’s Weed and Reefer Madness.
As a follow-up to their wildly epic April 2nd event and their historic meeting with White House representives from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, DCMJ — the people who brought you legal weed in DC — are throwing a sequel to April 2 on May 20, the one-month anniversary of 4/20, to highlight the fact that Obama is late on descheduling cannabis, and to remind folks of the racism behind the 1937 marijuana ban which is still a major component of the War On Drugs.
And, here’s more of the wit and wisdom of Harry Anslinger…
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When women like Carly Fiorina, Sheryl Sandberg and Hillary Clinton break the “glass ceiling”, it’s because they’re standing on the backs of millions of poor and working-class women who are lucky to see the floor.
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