Nixon Orders ‘All-Out War’
The day before the Shafer Commission report was released publicly, Nixon met with his top staff and declared war on marijuana users. He called for an “all-out war.” He said, “We have to attack on all fronts.”
Nixon wrote a speech condemning marijuana consumers, a “goddamn strong statement about marijuana” that rips “the ass out of them.” During the election campaign of 1972, Nixon’s anti-weed rhetoric was everywhere.
Marijuana remained on Schedule 1. And the number of drug arrests jumped by more than 100,000 the following year. It was the beginning of Nixon’s “all-out war.”
Drug arrests soared. In any given year between 1972 and 2015, more than 80% of drug arrests were for marijuana.
Beginning of the End
Over the last 10 years, drug arrests in the United States declined. With the 2016 election, four more states legalized weed for recreational use. More than half of all states (28) have medical marijuana.
FBI statistics show that in 2007, there were 1,841,182 drug arrests nationwide. The number of arrests in 2015 were 1,488,707 - a decrease of 19% in less than a decade. The biggest year-to-year drop was between 2014, when Colorado and Washington state implemented adult use, and 2015. Drug arrests fell by 5%.
It is unlikely that President Donald Trump will spend any of his political capital on trying to resurrect Nixon’s nasty nightmare. A majority of Americans want legal weed.
For two generations, Nixon’s knockout blow against marijuana users sent us reeling. Now we’re landing a few counterpunches.
It’s lights out for marijuana prohibition.