In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population.
In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation's "number one problem" was just 2-6 percent.
Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.
While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement.
By the end of Bush's term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year – mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors.
In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.
In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.
Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.
The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war.We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Of course we did.”Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use.In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization.In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today?