Richard Nixon War On Drugs

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U.S. & The War on Drugs Four decades ago, the President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs.” It all started in 1960s, when drugs became a symbolization of rebellion, political dissent, and social upheaval. In 1969, President Nixon identified drug abuse as a national threat. He cited the rise in drug use and crime rates, and called for a national anti-drug policy at both the state and federal level. In 1971, he officially announced the “War on Drugs” and stated that drug abuse was the public’s number one enemy, and temporarily placed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance. In July 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was created to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations. As Nixon began his war against drugs, states started to follow, such as New York, where the …show more content…
The laws mandated stricter sentencing guidelines. For instance, the conviction for someone possessing four ounces or more of heroin or cocaine could be punished by at least 15 years to life in prison. For the prosecutors, the laws made it easier to make cases. Others criticized the laws since they were to harsh for many first-time offenders. However, the Rockefeller Drug Laws were amended in 2004 and 2005 to ease some of the most severe sentences. Between 1973 and 1979, many states enacted tough laws against drugs, but marijuana was mostly exempt to the extent that some states even eased their marijuana laws by decriminalizing possession of small amounts. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter tried to decriminalize the possessing of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use, but when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted, the measure never received enough support to become law. When President Ronald Reagan came to power, he expanded the drug war, and during his administration, the number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased. In 1982, Nancy Reagan, then the First Lady, began an