1/3/2018 by John F. O’Donnell
Most people know that America’s War on Drugs has been a disaster both at home and abroad. Decades have passed, countless people have been killed, mass incarceration is out of control, and it’s cost us trillions. That’s why what California is doing is a great step towards a revolutionary paradigm shift.
Now, let’s not forget that the origins of the “War on Drugs” were inherently pro-war and racist. According to President Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman, who was around when the War on Drugs was first declared –
”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.“
Not only has California become the largest state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana, it’s also passed a number of laws that fight back hard against the failed Drug War. The state has instituted some of the most progressive criminal justice reforms on the books anywhere in the country. One example is Proposition 64, which among other things, allows for individuals with previous marijuana-related drug convictions to have those convictions retroactively reduced, reclassified as misdemeanors compared to felonies, or even dismissed completely. This is huge step forward that will undoubtedly improve hundreds of thousands of lives in California.
Yet significantly, possession of marijuana will still be prohibited at eight border patrol checkpoints in the state, which serves as a reminder that state and federal laws still collide when it comes to the War on Drugs.
It’s high time (pun intended) we ditch the “War on Drugs” altogether and end the mass incarceration destroying families nationwide.
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