The War on Drugs is a war that governments of the world fight against their own people, supposedly to protect people from the harmful effects of these substances. In the vast majority of cases This essay will argue that cannabis prohibition is necessary because it is immoral for a government to conduct a war against their own people without their consent.
The War on Drugs was ramped up to full aggression by Richard Nixon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although the majority of recreational drugs were already illegal, the enforcement of them was not brutal until Nixon entered the scene. With the increase in aggressive drug law enforcement came an increase in the incarceration rate of Americans – now four times higher than it was in 1972, even when adjusted for the increase in population.
Nixon’s former domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman, is quoted in a Harper magazine interview saying “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.” This quote encapsulates the entire logic of the War on Drugs.
The truth about the War on Drugs is that governments don’t really fight this war against drugs, they fight them against their own people who use drugs. The War on Drugs is really a war against their own people.
In particular, the War on Drugs is a war against those the ruling classes want to destroy. As is clear from the Ehrlichman quote above, the ruling party is not representative of the people. They have their particular enemies, and in the case of the Military-Industrial Complex that profits immensely from defence contracts and from endless war, peaceniks are the enemy.
Likewise for blacks: the Prison-Industrial Complex demands a steady supply of slave workers to labour in prisons. This prison labour is immensely profitable for the prison owners, who occupy the same role as the slave plantation owners of the antebellum American South. So a draconian crackdown on drugs that were known to be used heavily by blacks had the calculated effect of drawing large numbers of them into the prison system.
The reason why the security services are divided into the Police and the Army is because the Army is for fighting wars, and the Police for keeping the peace. When the Government sets the Army onto the people, it’s usually a sign that the Government is rotten to the core and probably not far from collapse. So when the Police are also fighting a war against the people on behalf of the Government, it’s a very, very bad sign.
Everyone knows that the Government isn’t really a protective, benevolent force. Everyone knows that Western governments are not representatives of their people, but rather of whatever corporate interests have declared themselves to have a stake in the country. The point is, this should not be accepted, and governments should never act to the detriment of their own people for the sake of corporate profits.
Conducting a War on Drugs makes it possible for the ruling classes to divide and conquer the people, by way of subjecting some of them to harsh legal punishment and not others. This is a grossly anti-democratic phenomenon, and should not be allowed.
Cannabis prohibition should be repealed because the Government should not fight a war against its own people. The War on Drugs is a war that the Government fights against the same people that the Government is supposed to represent and protect. It’s time for a ceasefire.
This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.