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The “war on drugs” was actually begun by Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon in 1969 when he declared war and directed resources to the end to drug trafficking and the incarceration of drug users.

But most people think it was Ronald Reagan who started the war, because it was under his administration that Congress passed The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which increased from 100 to 1 the disparity between being caught with crack vs. cocaine.  5g of crack was a mandatory minimum 5 year sentence, while it took 500g of powder to get the same sentence.  The law also had harsher sentences for pot and other drugs, but it was crack that became the “epidemic” of the 1980s.  It took effect on October 27, 1986.

See how they did that, there?  The problem wasn’t poverty or lack of opportunity inherent in an economic system that unfairly benefitted capitalists at the expense of the poor, or a system of “fair competition” in which most whites had been advantaged for 100 years before nonwhites were even allowed to enter it.

Then, a quarter of a century later, the country’s first African American President signed into law the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:1.

Still disparate, but less so.

Here endeth the lesson.



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