The Drug Enforcement Administration’s current Throwback Thursday (TBT) publish on Twitter, now often known as X, occurred to fall on the primary day of Black Historical past Month. However that didn’t cease the company from proudly touting its failed warfare on medication, which a former presidential advisor later revealed to be a focused assault on the antiwar left and Black group.
The DEA’s TBT publish incorporates a picture of then-President Richard Nixon, who introduced upon the drug warfare, receiving a “certificates of particular honor” from the Worldwide Narcotic Enforcement Officers’ Affiliation “in recognition of the excellent loyalty and contribution to help narcotic regulation enforcement.”
Marijuana Second shared feedback from numerous hashish advocates blasting the DEA’s publish as offensive and tone-deaf.
“That is the company that we’re speculated to belief to objectively resolve hashish’ ultimate schedule? Posting drug warfare propaganda to kick off the primary day of Black Historical past Month?” wrote Kalika Castille, president of the Minority Hashish Enterprise Affiliation.
“Nixon signed the fear- and stigma-based Managed Substance Act in 1970, declared the disastrous ‘warfare on medication’ in 1971, and ignored calls to decriminalize marijuana in 1972. The DEA’s historical past leaves all that out,” tweeted the Drug Coverage Alliance, referring to the DEA’s 5 a long time and over $1 trillion spent on implementing the Managed Substances Act, which classifies medication and units felony penalties. Hashish stays a Schedule I drug together with heroin, LSD, meth, ecstasy and peyote.
The Battle On Medicine & John Ehrlichman: Villify Black Individuals And Antiwar Left
In 2016, author Dan Baum started Harper’s Journal cowl story, “Legalize It All: Easy methods to win the warfare on medication,” with quotes from a 1994 interview he’d accomplished with Nixon’s high adviser John Ehrlichman. In the course of the interview, Baum requested how the U.S. entangled itself in a drug prohibition coverage that “yielded a lot distress and so few good outcomes.”
“The Nixon marketing campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White Home after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black folks,” responded Ehrlichman, who died in 1999.
“We knew we couldn’t make it unlawful to be both in opposition to the warfare or [Blacks], however by getting the general public to affiliate the hippies with marijuana and [Blacks] with heroin, after which criminalizing each closely, we might disrupt these communities. We might arrest their leaders, raid their houses, break up their conferences, and vilify them night time after night time on the night information. Did we all know we had been mendacity in regards to the medication? In fact, we did,” Ehrlichman added.
Enter The DEA
This coverage put the U.S. on a punitive path led by the DEA that resulted in disproportionate drug arrests, mass incarceration and the decimation of numerous communities throughout the nation. The Sentencing Challenge factors out that Black People are 3.8 occasions extra more likely to be arrested for drug possession than white People, though they use medication at comparable charges.
“Earlier than the Battle on Medicine, specific discrimination — and for many years, overtly racist lynching — had been the first weapons within the subjugation of Black folks. Then mass incarceration, the gradual progeny of quite a lot of congressional payments, made it a lot simpler,” famous the Brennan Heart for Justice.
Photograph: Courtesy of DEA