America’s earliest federal drug control efforts were xenophobic, racist, and anti-immigrant efforts politicians tried to pass off as public health policies.

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Image courtesy of The Equity Organization on Instagram

Introducing Part IV of The Equity Organization’s ‘Drug War History’ Series.


How racism, fears of miscegenation and one man’s all-consuming hatred of jazz drove America’s early anti-cannabis crusade.

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Image Courtesy of The Equity Organization on Instagram.

Introducing Part III of The Equity Organization’s ‘Drug War History’ Series.


In the 1920s, the rapidly-changing demographics of the American Southwest threatened the survival of the country’s racial caste system. Cannabis consumption would be weaponized to further fuel this anti-Mexican sentiment.

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Image courtesy of The Equity Organization on Instagram.

Introducing Part II of The Equity Organization’s ‘Drug War History’.


How income inequality, Mexican folk songs and the rise of Pancho Villa laid the early groundwork for America’s War on Drugs.

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Image courtesy of The Equity Organization on Instagram.

Introducing Part I of The Equity Organization’s Drug War History’ Series.


Decriminalization measures aim to reduce the number of — and racial disparities related to — cannabis arrests. Unfortunately, these well-intentioned efforts fall far short of the desired aims.

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Image courtesy of The Equity Organization on Instagram. Data courtesy of ACLU.

Background.


I’m encouraging the National Institute on Drug Abuse—as well as other federal agencies—to acknowledge their complicity in perpetuating discriminatory and dangerous narratives around drug use.

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In a recent letter, the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) acknowledged drug use has been used as a “lever to suppress people of a particular race”.

Unfortunately, Dr. Volkow neglected to take any responsibility for her organization’s role in perpetuating these injustices.

So we decided to write back.


Biden’s anti-legalization position is quickly becoming a political liability. It’s time for the Presidential candidate to change his approach to cannabis.

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Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore.


Racism, xenophobia and one man’s all-consuming hatred of jazz kicked off the criminalization of cannabis; America’s illegal, “essential” plant.

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“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men. The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

— Harry Anslinger, Founding Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics

Preface.


Roosevelt financed his New Deal policies—and helped to end the Great Depression—by repealing alcohol Prohibition. Could we do something similar with cannabis?

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the first relaxation of the Volstead Act in all the years of Prohibition, March 22, 1933, in Washington. AP Photo

“So there can be no possible misunderstanding, let me read the provisions of the Democratic platform on this point: and let me add that it’s in plain English. …


Full text of my public comment on the DEA’s proposal re: “Controls To Enhance the Cultivation of Marihuana for Research in the United States”.

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A CBP officer examines some of the bundles of marijuana found in a commercial shipment of scrap metal at the Bridge of the Americas international crossing/El Paso port of entry May 6, 2009.

About

Natalie Papillion

Executive Director of The Equity Organization. Writing, researching, and advocating for drug policy and criminal justice reform. www.equityorganization.org

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