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Take Marijuana Out of Drug War

July 22nd

Americans like wars: the war on poverty — we lost that one when a bigger war came along. In 1971, while losing the war in Vietnam, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. The two wars got mixed together in some unpleasant ways. American soldiers began using drugs in Vietnam as a way of deadening the fear and loathing in fighting a war where civilians were indistinguishable from enemy soldiers.

Back home, a youthful revolution developed: a rejection not just of the war and the draft that was taking so many young men to death or injury but of the humbug that had preceded it. The revolution rejected apple pie, stars-and-stripes morality with its undertones of bigotry and overtones of hypocrisy and embraced the emerging marijuana plant as a principal source of recreational pleasure.

The increased solidarity among young blacks and whites, many of whom had been part of the racial rebelliousness that brought about the civil rights acts of the sixties did not sit comfortably with the older ruling class still, particularly in the South, resisting the civil rights movement.


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