Tricky Dick War on Drugs

While he served as the 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon pioneered the art and science of presidential corruption. Even those who are loyal to his political party (Republicans, also known as the “Grand Old Party”) cannot escape the reality of the Nixon legacy: His deceptions while in the White House (1969 to 1974) directly brought about a deep distrust towards federal government officials.

His political opponents nicknamed him “Tricky Dick” and that stuck to him even in death. He created the first “war on drugs” and the current DEA Schedule 1 status of cannabis is but one example.

John Ehrlichman served as a trusted domestic policy adviser to President Nixon. Ehrlichman explained for the record why cannabis was added to Schedule 1 during the 1970s:

“You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m 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. 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.”
Nixon and Ehrlichman

Pictured is President Nixon with John Ehrlichman studying an enemies list of hippies and black people in the 1970s.

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