Why The War On Drugs Needs To End

The legalization of cannabis is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ending the war on drugs.

Welcome to Four PM —a daily newsletter that delivers cannabis industry analysis, interviews with industry leaders, and all of the latest news.


50 years ago president Richard Nixon declared an all-out “War on Drugs”.

At the time, this initiative received overwhelming support across America as the efforts being made at the same time to emphasize the dangers of drugs worked beyond effectively as the terrified parents whose fears were founded on this misinformation installed in their children that “all drugs are bad”.

The true motivating factor

Whereas empathy can be extended to the parents who spread this message due to their inability to access information that would have informed them of the shortcoming of this information — I find it very difficult to extend this same empathy to the politicians responsible for the creation of these policies.

We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,"

"We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

John Ehrlichman, Richard Nixon's Domestic Policy Chief

These policies were never about protecting public health as many were led to believe at this time, instead, the Nixon administration used these policies as a means to achieve the mass incarnation of minority communities in America.

This is all history, right?

As I write this edition of Four PM, I wish nothing more than for the following words to be an analysis of how these practices have since ceased.

Unfortunately, the truth tells a very different tale.

Today in America, these same minority communities that were the initial targets of these prejudicial policies remain the current targets of the war on drugs across the United States.

For example, in New York — the city said to be the physical representation of the “freedom & liberty” all Americans are said to have access to continues to enforce these outdated policies.

As we can see from this data, blacks and Hispanics represented a staggering 91.39% of those who receive criminal court summonses for cannabis in 2020, despite the fact that they represent just over 50% of the population in NY.

This same trend extends itself all across America today whereby black people are reported to be 3.64x more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than a white person — despite the fact that there is comparable usage.

What’s next?

The legalization of cannabis at a federal level in the United States is coming, and I for one am beyond excited to be alive to see the day.

That said, with the knowledge that the war on drugs was entirely constructed as a means to achieve the mass incarceration of minority communities — why aren’t we demanding that this entire campaign be stopped, and the money it took to wage this war be reinvested into the communities who have been the targets of this campaign all along?

As a student of history, from where I’m standing, anything short of this is simply insufficient to address the problems our current politician’s predecessors very intentionally architected & implemented.

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