The history of the US War on Drugs is the history of racism and repression against people of color, the working class, and progressive movements.
“The Nixon White House . . . had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people . . . 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, Domestic Affairs Adviser to President Nixon
We call for the legalization and decriminalization of drugs and for treating drug abuse as a medical issue. Toward this goal, we advocate the following policies:
- End the War on Drugs. Redirect funds presently budgeted for the War on Drugs toward expanded research, education, counseling, and treatment.
- Legalize cannabis and its derivatives at the state and federal levels. Scientific evidence shows that cannabis use is safer than alcohol and tobacco use, and that criminalization is driven by ideological and racial bias.
- Grant amnesty to and release from confinement all people who are either incarcerated or awaiting trial for the use, sale, or cultivation of cannabis in federal and state prisons and in county/city jails, and do so without any further parole or probation.
- Strike from the record prior convictions for cannabis possession, sale, or cultivation.
- Prohibit big pharma, liquor, tobacco, and industrialized agribusiness from exploiting cannabis legalization. Encourage worker ownership of cannabis enterprises and organic production methods, and protect consumers from pesticides and chemical additives.
- Resist attempts to use this new cannabis industry to fund social programs through “sin” taxes. Instead, tax the wealthy and big corporations to pay for schools and health care.
The meteoric rise of drug convictions that began during the Clinton presidency and the devastating opiate epidemic that has deepened every year since the 2008 economic crisis both underscore the fact that neither party of Wall Street—the Republicans nor the Democrats—are capable of providing an answer to the systemic problems that fuel the War on Drugs. Nor is either party willing to enact the sweeping reforms that would put an end mass incarceration once and for all.
This is why the mission of the Howie Hawkins Presidential Exploratory Campaign is to build a strong independent Green Party capable of winning thousands of races and truly transforming US politics for the people, the planet, and global peace without compromise. Please join us and make a contribution.