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  •  It started much earlier than THAT (2+ / 0-)
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    Kevskos, claude

    The Drug War started as the "red-headed orphan child" of the Temperance Movement, circa 1901.   It wasn't the hand over fist money making crowd pleaser that  "Anti-Saloon" agitation was ...  but it quickly gained a following among racist law enforcement specialists.

    th century) never attracted much of a following.

    But recreational drugs On the East Coast ... it was "Negroes" and cocaine ... in the Midwest "Hobos" (or prostitutes) and morphine -- and in the Southwest "Mexicans" and marijuana.  By outlawing the drug of choice, it was thought it would be easier to control the underclass demographic that was using it.

    (J. Edgar Hoover would use the same logic to press for a ban on "switchblade" knives in the early   1950s.)

    At at the same time,  an allied anti-saccharine movement failed dismally: president Theodore Roosevelt LIKED his saccharine sweetener and wouldn't include it in his FDA Act.  Likewise the campaign against chloral hydrate (the Rohypnol of the 19th century) languished for lack of public interest.

    The point being ... by the time the Marijuana Tax act of 1933 was passed, the weed itself was already illegal under most states' laws.

    Following WWII federal law enforcement saw the same logic in anti-narcotics law that Mario Puzo detailed in The Godfather
    . The profits from heroin were too lucrative for lower-level gangsters to pass up ... the penalties too draconian for the hoods to do their time and  preserve the code of Omerta.  "Drugs will destroy Our Thing" said Don Corleone ... who was proved more or less right by the mid 1960s.

    By 1972 the Supreme Court had decided that the 1933 "transfer tax" on Marijuana was unconstitutional ... so observers like David Musto were predicting the end of marijuana prohibition within the decade


    Among his other manias, Tricky Dick sincerely believed that every joint smoked was an act of civil disobedience directed at HIM, personally.  And in many cases, the old devil wasn't so very far wrong.  In some circles smoking dope WAS a cheap and easy way of staking out a political position.  So Nixon declared his War on Drugs.

    And it's still with us.  Much to the delight of the lawyers, law enforcers, and for-profit prison owners  HALF of whose business  would vanish if the War ever ended.

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