President Nixon (remember him? the criminal President?) set the War on Drugs up. During the Reagan years, however it turned into the War on drugs users, on American citizens and in some cases Americans who either didn't use drugs or were involved in victimless and certainly non-violent crimes.
Nixon's program focused on education. Reagan on incarceration. During Nixon's time, we were on the way out of the drug infused 60s. It was a drug culture. Mom's took Valium ("Mother's little helper") to help her through the day. Everyone (it seemed) smoked Pot. Pills were almost considered harmless. People would give you drugs free, friends would offer them to you. You could find a Cannabis cigarette on the sidewalk, a not unusual thing in the 70s.
However, perhaps because of the Reagan program, now the drug culture is pretty dead. People point at statistics showing how many drugs are still coming into the country and how many still use drugs, but at some point, that is always going to be there. But the "War on Drugs" is over. So declared by the President. The Drug Czar, an ex Seattle Police Chief, himself wants it over and says they should be focusing more on education and the positive end and no longer on the negative end of punishment of users.
The current "Drug Czar" is Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske. Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief, has traveled recently to discuss prescription pill abuse, which he calls the country's fastest-growing substance abuse problem. He says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. They aren't even concerned with things like Cannabis any longer. Read the writing on the wall.
If I thought Cannabis was a dangerous drug, I would be the first to admit it. But its not, it's just been vilified by those misguided people in positions of authority and now most of them are even saying to knock it off and legalize it. State after state is legalizing it. People who point to it as a gateway drug are deluding themselves. For those who will go into harder drugs, they will do it regardless. For those who say tobacco and alcohol are bad, why legalize yet another drug. It's simply not for them to make that decision. It is up to the American people, not to mention, ethics based upon truth. The one bad thing about Cannabis is inhaling smoke, especially hot smoke. And there are ways to fix that becoming more and more popular. Even Willy Nelson uses a vaporizer because he says, "I hear it's much healthier."
Many Police Chiefs want legalization. We shouldn't be putting users in jail for simple use of a weed that grows naturally and is a medicinal simply by pulling it from the ground. You could use that argument for Opium Poppies too and I might agree. Although I do see the dangers in addictive drugs such as opium. Still, people who get addicted, tend to have personalities that have a propensity toward that kind of thing and they need help, not incarceration.
The point here is not that people using drugs is a difficult thing for the government to regulate. In many cases it is simply none of their business. The point here is in the freedom to use your own mind to live as you choose. If, in some cases you choose to be addicted, or simply to use a drug, that is a medical issue and the government has taken it to be a judicial issues, leading to abusing American citizens; not to mention all the money that taxing things like Cannabis would bring into our not only empty coffers, but coffers with a huge hole in their bases.
This Drug War has turned into a religion with many in the police and judicial side of government. This is definitely something that is politically correct, like Christianity and religion in this country, and something that needs to be muscled under control. No, it will not be fun, easy, or popular with the ignorant and self serving and vocal conservatives. But it needs to be done.
I won't bore you with countries who have done this, but they are out there. We should be treating American citizens with compassion, not punishment. We should be doing what is right, not easy. The American government and people have become fat (no, really, look around at how many fat people there are in America compared to 100 or 200 years ago) and lazy (people want what is fast and easy, thanks MTV and the 60's "me" generation).
In closing, speak up. Stop being a coward. Check out the real issues and statistics. Don't let conservatives bully you into submission. Get angry! People are in jail, people are DEAD, because of this war on drugs. People who should be in the yard, playing with their kids. People have had their children taken away, good people. People who are good citizens, only they choose to smoke some pot.
People who have drug problems go "underground" in their use. Let's legalize things so we can tax them; let people grow what they want. I see tobacco as no different that Cannabis. Except, that tobacco is more dangerous and actually IS addictive. Pot, is not addictive. If anything it may be mentally addictive, but if you quit, you do not die as with Heroin, you do not go into withdrawals, and anything you could claim as withdrawals is less than that with caffeine withdrawals, which I assure, is no fun.
The point here, is always looked at from the wrong perspective. Those who adhere to the "War on Drugs" concept mislead. First, the name is as horrible as the name, "Global Warming" which is a stupid name: "Climate Change" is far more correct. And so too, "War on Americans" is far more accurate. Surely you say, that can't be, people that don't do drugs, aren't being "warred upon". But, they are, they have been and they will be. Check the stats, people who haven't done anything, have had their houses broken into by Law authorities, have been shot, handicapped and in some cases, killed.
Don't fool yourself, as long at this goes on, you can one day be standing in your nightclothes, woken from bed, and thrown to the ground with guns at your head. Only to later hear, "Sorry, it was the house next door we meant to hit." Or, "your child was mad and turned you in to the school." These things have happened. And if they have, then can again.
Not to mention, people on the "three strikes" laws are in prison who shouldn't be. Or the non-violents who are in jail at our expense. We're in a bad economic situation. Let's do everything reasonable to fix this and take this opportunity to clean up some poor government abuses.