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The War on Drugs Was Born 100 Years Ago

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posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 01:59 PM
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The War on Drugs Was Born 100 Years Ago

Right now there is a raging debate going across America (as well as on ATS) about police brutality and what can be done about it. All sorts of "solutions" are suggested like for the officers to wear cameras at all times, but those don't really address the REASONS for this behavior: unchecked gang culture fueled by the War on Drugs.

Why is it that when things like police brutality, illegal immigrants fleeing violence, black on black crime, and other hot topic issues are discussed, no one wants to address the giant elephant in the room that is fueling all of these things?

Without drugs being illegal, police would be free to pursue REAL police work and catch REAL, violent criminals. Without drugs being illegal, Mexicans and South Americans wouldn't need to flee their home countries out of fear for their lives from cartels being propped up by the sale of illegal drugs. Without drugs being illegal gang culture would be unable to thrive as successfully as it does now.


The War on Drugs was initiated by legislation that was passed not to help drug addicts and protect the innocent, but rather was designed to control and marginalize minority groups and to push the United States into a leadership role in world diplomatic affairs.

The War on Drugs is 100 years old today. It kills thousands of people, destroys untold number of lives, and wastes hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Plus it prevents us from using three of the most miraculous plants on the planet, even for their “legitimate” uses.


Once we recognize the problem, we can look at the history of the legislation and see that the problem has been entrenched with us since the beginning. The war on drugs was NEVER about helping you or I. It was about control, authority, and racism.


As written, the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 was legislation that established a tax and registration requirement on narcotics and coc aine. Politicians and journalists openly targeted Chinese immigrants, Southern blacks, and Mexicans with outrageous propaganda. The real priority of the legislation, however, was to comply with the first international drug control treaty, the International Opium Convention of 1912.

As implemented, the legislation quickly evolved into an outright prohibition. Enforcement bureaucrats argued that doctors prescribing narcotics for drug addiction was an illegitimate medical practice. The courts ruled in their favor and addict-maintenance medical practices and addiction clinics were forced to close.

Marijuana prohibition went national with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. It too quickly changed from a measure to tax and regulate into an outright prohibition. Even hemp, the non-intoxicating form of cannabis was banned! When propaganda claiming that marijuana was deadly and caused insanity, violence, and criminal behavior was debunked (aka Reefer Madness), the “gateway theory” was born to fill the void. The gateway theory posits that while marijuana might not be addictive or dangerous, it would lead the user to try the hard drugs, such as heroin. This theory became the prevailing view in the second half of the twentieth century.


Why do we continue to defend such barbarism? The evidence is all around us that there are better solutions available that work MUCH better. Namely legalization (or decriminalization at the minimum). 'This Is Working': Portugal, 12 Years after Decriminalizing Drugs. Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows.


In my dissertation, I showed that the gateway theory did not explain the movement toward harder drugs. This research was subsequently published in The Economics of Prohibition. I showed that it was actually prohibition enforcement itself that created incentives for suppliers to make drugs more potent e.g., more potent marijuana, and to switch to more potent drug types e.g., smuggling coc aine instead of marijuana.

It was the case that the markets for narcotics, coc aine, and marijuana had problems and concerns, but as Mises Institute Summer Fellow Audrey Redford has shown, it was also the case that these markets were already impacted by numerous state and local regulations and prohibitions, by heavy tariffs, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, and by a host of state and local alcohol prohibitions and restrictions.

What history does reveal is that the initial legislation that became the War of Drugs was clearly the result of bigotry and the desire to suppress minorities, and the desire to become a big player in world diplomatic affairs, not a desire to help drug addicts.

What has the War on Drugs accomplished? It has not reduced access to illegal drugs. It has not reduced illegal drug use or abuse. It has not reduced the rate of addiction. If anything, the rates of use, abuse, and addiction have increased over the past century. Prison population statistics clearly indicate that it has been used to suppress minorities.

It has also greatly increased the powers of law enforcement and the legal system and reduced the legal rights and protections of citizens under the tradition of the rule of law. It has greatly increased the militarization of the police and the use of the military in police work. It has also led to a significant increase in US political and military intervention in foreign nations, particularly in the drug supply nations of Central and South America.


We even have a historic case study in this VERY country showing that making a substance illegal doesn't work, Prohibition. We can look at the results of Prohibition and see if there are any corollaries to the current War on Drugs.


However, as we pass this miserable milestone, there is great cause for optimism. There is a rising ideological tide against the War on Drugs. Medical marijuana legalization has been passed in twenty states, recreational marijuana has been passed in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia, several states and cities have decriminalized marijuana so that the majority of Americans can no longer be put in prison for marijuana consumption.

Demographically, this rising tide is even stronger because only the Silent Generation (ages 69 to 86) strongly supports marijuana prohibition and they are dying off. More generally the “social mood” continues to move in the favorable direction from “government is the solution” to “government is the problem.” This positive change in ideology also seems to be improving in Central and South America, Europe, and elsewhere.

The fact that more people see the solution for the drug addict as not illegal markets, high prices, and the threat of imprisonment, but in education, medical treatment, counseling, and social pressures means that it is possible that we could see the entire War on Drugs ended in our lifetimes.

edit on 17-12-2014 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:17 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t



Without drugs being illegal, police would be free to pursue REAL police work and catch REAL, violent criminals. Without drugs being illegal, Mexicans and South Americans wouldn't need to flee their home countries out of fear for their lives from cartels being propped up by the sale of illegal drugs. Without drugs being illegal gang culture would be unable to thrive as successfully as it does now.


I don't want to be the Christmas Grinch here. I'm all for a fresher approach to drug laws and favour decriminalisation of most illegal drugs. The world would be a better place for it and I'm not a recreational or regular user with an agenda. Used to be...not now.

However, criminals, crime lords and violent crimes have existed forever without the help of anti-drug laws. Mexican cartels exist because of the poverty there. Same for other S American nations...poverty drives entrepreneurs. Ghetto crime in the US/Africa/Europe/Russia won't vanish with legalisation; players will just move on to something else that makes money. Maybe store robberies or bank jobs would increase?

Maybe it's a pessimistic view? There's always a criminal class.

It'd still be a worthwhile social experiment to see how society would cope with fewer people being criminalised for drug use. In tandem with new laws, they should release every prisoner who's in there for possession or petty selling as long as they're non-violent. Testify!



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:23 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

And the current version of the Fed was started 101 years ago.

If you wan't to sort out the problem, you're going to have to get to the roots, and not just the limbs.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:24 PM
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originally posted by: Kandinsky
I don't want to be the Christmas Grinch here. I'm all for a fresher approach to drug laws and favour decriminalisation of most illegal drugs. The world would be a better place for it and I'm not a recreational or regular user with an agenda. Used to be...not now.

However, criminals, crime lords and violent crimes have existed forever without the help of anti-drug laws. Mexican cartels exist because of the poverty there. Same for other S American nations...poverty drives entrepreneurs. Ghetto crime in the US/Africa/Europe/Russia won't vanish with legalisation; players will just move on to something else that makes money. Maybe store robberies or bank jobs would increase?


I'm not trying to say that crime will evaporate with the ending of the war on drugs, but the cartels' chief revenue stream would quickly dry up. Other rackets that they would try to get involved with would be nowhere NEAR as lucrative for them to create giant criminal organizations fueled by fear and intimidation. Did you know that drug cartels have a vested, monatary, interest in keeping the drug war going? As in, they at times actively lobby to keep drugs illegal. They know that if drugs were legal, they would lose most of their power and so they work within legal government framework to keep that the case.


Maybe it's a pessimistic view? There's always a criminal class.

It'd still be a worthwhile social experiment to see how society would cope with fewer people being criminalised for drug use. In tandem with new laws, they should release every prisoner who's in there for possession or petty selling as long as they're non-violent. Testify!





posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:25 PM
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The war on drug has been just as successful as the war on poverty. Both are a waste of money.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

Might want to throw "war on terror" in there as well. Any war against [insert intangible concept] is a waste of money that does nothing to fix the problem. Though they all are VERY good at creating exciting and new problems, as well as making all the existing ones much worse.
edit on 17-12-2014 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:38 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

You will get no argument from me on that paragraph.




posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:38 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Why do we continue to defend such barbarism and ludicrous policies? Money, of course. It's always money. Drugs are illegal because some people make a great deal of money from it that they wouldn't make if drugs weren't legal. Either those people are our so-called elected representatives or they're the people who own them.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:39 PM
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originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

Might want to throw "war on terror" in there as well. Any war against [insert intangible concept] is a waste of money that does nothing to fix the problem. Though they all are VERY good at creating exciting and new problems, as well as making all the existing ones much worse.


Again, it's money. War makes some people very, very wealthy.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:42 PM
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a reply to: Tangerine

You know you have a problem when those people profiting off of the war are also heads of illegal organizations while simultaneously trying to keep the war going through legitimate avenues.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:44 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I forgot if I'd applauded this.

Looks like you got two.

Hit on the head once again Sir.

~Tenth



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:50 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

It's a money issue yes.. so bit old story but make drugs worthless in money then you can tackle the drugs problem.
Sure just regulate it, register users and make special 'points'' where they can get their drugs for not much money.
Bit like medicine.
No more drug lords, making lots of money which they use to buy weapons and so on and no more local dealers and all other side effects.

You can never really stop it so just let it be like a drugs recept.
I can buy glue and you get high from it, I won't use it for getting high, of course you can if you want, I won't.

Lets make a war on alcohol, and watch how that would play out...
It would cost lots of money and you would get similar situations as we have today with other drugs..
edit on 17-12-2014 by Plugin because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:50 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t



I'm not trying to say that crime will evaporate with the ending of the war on drugs, but the cartels' chief revenue stream would quickly dry up. Other rackets that they would try to get involved with would be nowhere NEAR as lucrative for them to create giant criminal organizations fueled by fear and intimidation.


I've an idea, with no evidence, that every economy has always had a certain percentage generated by black markets. Piracy, kidnappings, extortion etc. Rich folk diddling the poor folk in the financial markets. Boiler-plate tricksters and insider dealers. All very lucrative and part of society for as long as we've had city states...4-5000 years.

The old 'war on drugs' has been a political red-herring since the British started the Opium Wars. What better way to keep navies and law enforcement busy than to have them chasing the import/export trade in goods we deem as 'illicit?'

Prescription, rehabilitation and treatment must be more cost-effective than the combined costs of prisons, coast-guards, drug squads and international military interventions.

I'm too lazy to link to sources right now, but they're out there. I agree with your points beyond quibbling about the scale of serious crime.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:52 PM
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Born out of profit, greed and a need to control. What have the people gotten from it? We're told what we can consume and what is considered medication, safe recreational substances. Nature is prohibited unless it's approved by them.

NY for instance has had very slow progress. Politicians like Cuomo who just follow orders make it very hard for the normal people to have access to medication.

And I'm seriously surprised they voted down the DC medical program (still if I'm not mistaken). Seems like they'd be the first ones to secure freedom for themselves. Regardless of the parties involved, the entire system dictates what's safe, healthy and worthy of human consumption.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 02:54 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

What I like is that we, as a society, are finally starting to wise up and come around to reality. Never before has discussion such as this been so prevalent. Marijuana reform makes strides every election year while anti-war on drugs sentiment grows by the day. We can only keep talking about it. Put the facts out time and again until everyone listens.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 03:09 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

It's about time.

In the UK, we fired a scientist for saying that riding horses had a higher fatality rate than using ecstasy. He was the head of the UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

On evidence, he was correct. Politically, he was pushed aside and replaced with someone who stuck to the instinctive notion that 'drugs are bad.'

Marijuana use isn't without harm...or potential harm. It's about time that the discussion can be based on evidence rather than opinionated political perspectives.



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 03:23 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Lol ya. Who cares what scientists and what their "facts" say when we can rely on emotion, hearsay, and fear instead?
edit on 17-12-2014 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 03:44 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Even the Grand Pooh-Bah of conservatives William F. Buckley Jr. realized two decades ago the war on drugs was lost.

From Wikiquote:


Address to the New York Bar Association (Summer 1995); published in "The War On Drugs Is Lost" in National Review Vol. 48, No. 2 (12 February 1996)

"More people die every year as a result of the war against drugs than die from what we call, generically, overdosing. These fatalities include, perhaps most prominently, drug merchants who compete for commercial territory, but include also people who are robbed and killed by those desperate for money to buy the drug to which they have become addicted."

"This is perhaps the moment to note that the pharmaceutical cost of coc aine and heroin is approximately 2 per cent of the street price of those drugs. Since a coc aine addict can spend as much as $1,000 per week to sustain his habit, he would need to come up with that $1,000. The approximate fencing cost of stolen goods is 80 per cent, so that to come up with $1,000 can require stealing $5,000 worth of jewels, cars, whatever."

" We can see that at free-market rates, $20 per week would provide the addict with the coc aine which, in this wartime drug situation, requires of him $1,000."

"Treatment is not now available for almost half of those who would benefit from it. Yet we are willing to build more and more jails in which to isolate drug users even though at one-seventh the cost of building and maintaining jail space and pursuing, detaining, and prosecuting the drug user, we could subsidize commensurately effective medical care and psychological treatment."

"The cost of the drug war is many times more painful, in all its manifestations, than would be the licensing of drugs combined with intensive education of non-users and intensive education designed to warn those who experiment with drugs."

"Those who suffer from the abuse of drugs have themselves to blame for it. This does not mean that society is absolved from active concern for their plight. It does mean that their plight is subordinate to the plight of those citizens who do not experiment with drugs but whose life, liberty, and property are substantially affected by the illegalization of the drugs sought after by the minority."

"It is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors."



edit on 12/17/2014 by dezertdog because: (no reason given)

edit on 12/17/2014 by dezertdog because: added quotes



posted on Dec, 18 2014 @ 02:26 AM
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In the UK the war on drugs today makes money for the police. Since the proceeds of crime act they get to keep the proceeds of crime - initially denied by a barrister, then later during the party when drunk openly admitted and of course to pay his fees as the legal aid system budget has been virtually taken away.

Just for this reason alone, which allows any, but especially drugs crime as the evidence is now based on a possibility, not beyond all reasonable doubt and the incentive for the goods stolen from people's homes to be up for auction probably initially to the boys in blue etc there is obviously an incentive to lie in court.

I don't agree with the idea solely that this war has only been going on for 100 years. If you look at the world the initial church fathers and rabbi's faced, many men used the local drugs and each culture had them, in fact revelation is considered by many to be the result of john imbibing on the local fauna for his inspiration.

If people used drugs to gain entry into the other world, brought back truths and healing, then the priest who had nothing like that in his arsenal could not fight back. Modern medicine has pretty much seen the medicine man off as we are all brain washed into using it from dayu one with calpol which works so off we go. However, one has to remember that the holy men all stand between us and god. Drugs get us past them and so over the many years the holy men have taught that wickedness is aligned to the practices of the shaman and witch - especially healing and advising and prophesy was sheer devilry were it not coming from one of their saints or accepted channels. Astrology was from the devil along with a lot of other things that over the periods of many years they have managed to throw enough muck at in the form of devil's art and made their congregation's so frightened and dependant on them - especially under church law - that the demise of any form of competition e.g. someone meeting god or an angel under the influence of drugs was certainly gboing to be claimed to be a witch, warlock or devil's advocate and burned or whatevere torture the fat man in the dress could dream up against fellow humans - although once that dress was put on the man lost much of his sense of humanity around him and became his own little technocrat, law giver and land and asset grabber.



posted on Dec, 18 2014 @ 06:49 AM
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a reply to: Shiloh7

What sucks about asset forfeiture is that the police don't even need to charge you with anything. They can and will seize your stuff on a whim that turns out to be wrong, then won't give your stuff (usually money) back.



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