What Nixon did not want you to know about marijuana legalization, Part 2!
When we last left off, this series was examining the turbulent politics surrounding a plant. Marijuana has had a difficult journey, going from being a valid medical medicine to a substance that may deprive persons of their humanity.
By the 1950s, marijuana had been the focus of numerous films and dramatizations that portrayed users as rapists, torturers, and criminals on screen. The people who enjoyed occasional marijuana use were the target of ridicule in the now-iconic Reefer Madness film.
But by the 1960s, the globe had become considerably more open but also much crueler.
Disgust for cannabis started to fade in the 1960s. Suburban housewives are being drugged by their doctors on prescriptions of methamphetamines and barbiturates to keep them happy.
Marijuana use among college students increased. It quickly gained popularity in urban areas and among college students. Baby boomers were coming of age during this time, and they had become accustomed to the comforts of affluence, which had afforded them much leisure time.
Many state universities back then offered free tuition to residents. Therefore, the affluent of that age had more time to enjoy the perks of their status because neither tuition nor fees were a thing back then.
This decade also saw the United States launch a ground invasion of a sovereign nation, Vietnam.
Millions of American servicemen lost their lives, were injured or disabled, or endured terrible psychological and emotional anguish throughout the 18 years the United States spent in Vietnam. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, they were able to attend college, where they were exposed to the burgeoning counterculture of the time.
A large number of young Americans in this decade also took a stance against the racism of their elders and attempted to address civil rights for all people. In states like Mississippi, where strangers may be lynched, many people perished.
War in Vietnam and the fight for civil rights combined to make the 1960s a turbulent decade. Disturbances and murders occurred. Conservative groups within civic society pushed for rigid ideas on how to classify people based on their gender and race.
This, however, did not stop the young protesters. At some point, the motivation that inspired these youth to take action to make the world a better place was traced back to marijuana use.
Politicians such as Richard Nixon seized on the public’s perception of marijuana as a root cause of social unrest. Nixon won big with the help of a new political approach developed by Kevin Phillips called the Southern Strategy, and by running as the “law and order” candidate.
Nixon’s notorious War on Drugs was first conceived in 1970. He advocated for marijuana to be classified as a dangerous, schedule one substance. Due to the passage of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act by Congress in 1970, anyone caught over this line faces a very lengthy prison sentence.
Nixon blamed the legalization of marijuana for the decline of American culture. He blamed cannabis use for nearly everything wrong with the United States at the time. He exerted tremendous effort in an attempt to win over Hollywood to his cause.
Nixon convinced Art Linklater to serve as his official disavowal of marijuana spokesman. In addition, he was able to buy anti-drug commercial airtime to the tune of $37 million.
In an effort to reduce marijuana use, Nixon significantly increased police authority. Congress was busy with other things while he was trying to get his plans implemented.
The Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse produced a report demanding that Nixon’s drug war be ended. Nixon’s plans were seen to be a waste of resources in the study.
Nixon informed the director of the Narcotics Treatment Administration he had established that he knew nothing about drugs other than marijuana. Nixon was certain that he was the foremost authority on the topic.
You can look at homosexuality, drug use, and general wickedness. These are the foes of a healthy social order. Nixon made this point clear when he declared, “The communists and the left are promoting the [marijuana] because they want to destroy America.”
All of us are aware that Nixon was ultimately impeached. And by the end of the 1970s, marijuana had once again gained a more lenient public perception. Former President Jimmy Carter advocated for its legalization on a national level.