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1906 Pure Food and Drug Act - Under the law, drug labels, for example, had to list any of 10 ingredients that were deemed "addictive" and/or "dangerous" on the product label if they were present, and could not list them if they were not present. Alcohol, morphine and opium, and cannabis were all included on the list of these "addictive" and/or "dangerous" drugs.

1914 Harrison Narcotics Tax Act - A US federal law that regulated and taxed the production, importation, and distribution of opiates and Coca products. Although technically illegal for purposes of distribution and use, the distribution, sale and use of cocaine was still legal for registered companies and individuals. The Act's applicability in prosecuting doctors who prescribe narcotics to addicts was successfully challenged in Linder v. United States in 1925, as Justice McReynolds ruled that the federal government has no power to regulate medical practice.

1937 Marihuana Tax Act - An Act to impose an occupational excise tax upon certain dealers in marijuana, to impose a transfer tax upon certain dealings in marijuana, and to safeguard the revenue there from by registry and recording.

1961 Convention on Narcotics - an international treaty by governments required to "purchase and take physical possession of such crops as cannabis, opium, coca, and derivatives such as morphine, heroin and cocaine; including drugs in whatever way related to methadone, pethidine, morphinans and dextromoramide and related drugs.

1970 Controlled Substances Act - the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances is regulated. The legislation created five Schedules (classifications), with varying qualifications for a substance to be included in each. Two federal agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, determine which substances are added to or removed from the various schedules, though the statute passed by Congress created the initial listing, and Congress has sometimes scheduled other substances.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 - was a law of the War on Drugs passed by the U.S. Congress. Among other things, they changed the system of federal supervised release from a rehabilitative system into a punitive system. The 1986 Act also prohibited controlled substance analogs. The bill enacted new mandatory minimum sentences for drugs, including marijuana.[1][2]

In June 2011, a self-appointed Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government's war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."[3] The report was criticized by organizations that oppose a general legalization of drugs.[4] The Drug Policy Alliance estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on the War on Drugs.[5]

Arrests, Incarceration and Mandatory Minimums

Although Nixon declared "drug abuse" to be public enemy number one in 1971, the Nixon Administration also repealed the federal 2–10-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and started federal demand reduction programs and drug-treatment programs. During the first 9 years after Nixon coined the expression "War on Drugs", statistics showed only a minor increase in the total number of imprisoned. After 1980, the situation began to change. In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes had risen by 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.[6] In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for the possession or trafficking of crack when compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine,[7][8][9][8] which had been widely criticized as discriminatory against minorities, mostly blacks, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.[11] This 100:1 ratio had been required under federal law since 1986.[12] Persons convicted in federal court of possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine received a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison. On the other hand, possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence.[8][9] In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act cut the sentencing disparity to 18:1.[11]

Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress. This legislation appropriated an additional $1.7 billion to fund the War on Drugs. More importantly, it established 29 new, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. In the entire history of the country up until that point, the legal system had only seen 55 minimum sentences in total.[13] The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced the disparity between the amount of crack cocaine and powder cocaine needed to trigger certain United States federal criminal penalties from a 100:1 weight ratio to an 18:1 weight ratio and eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine, among other provisions. For more information on Mandatory Minimums and the negative impact they have on Americans, please visit FAMM.ORG Families Against Mandatory Minimums

War FOR Drugs

Some scholars have claimed that the phrase "War on Drugs" is propaganda cloaking an extension of earlier military or paramilitary operations.[15] Others have argued that large amounts of "drug war" foreign aid money, training, and equipment actually goes to fighting leftist insurgencies and is often provided to groups who themselves are involved in large-scale narco-trafficking, such as corrupt members of the Colombian military.[14]

Operation Intercept was an anti-drug measure announced by President Nixon on at 2:30pm on Sunday, September 21, 1969, resulting in a near shutdown of border crossings between Mexico and the United States. The initiative was intended to reduce the entry of Mexican marijuana into the United States at a time that was considered to be the prime harvest season.[15] The policy was instituted as a surprise move, although President Nixon had given Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz some advance warning. The effort involved the individual inspection, mandated to last three minutes, of every vehicle crossing into the United States from Mexico.[16] Because of complaints from cross-border travelers, and from Mexican President Diaz Ordaz, the searching of vehicles was reduced after 10 days and completely abandoned after about 20 days.[a href="http://www.enotes.com/drugs-alcohol-encyclopedia/operation-intercept" target="new window">17]

As early as 1982, Vice President George H. W. Bush and his aides began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts.[18]

The CIA supported various Afghan rebel commanders, such as Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who were fighting against the government of Afghanistan and the forces of the Soviet Union which were its supporters.[19] Historian Alfred W. McCoy stated that:[20]

In most cases, the CIA's role involved various forms of complicity, tolerance or studied ignorance about the trade, not any direct culpability in the actual trafficking ... [t]he CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection. In sum, the CIA's role in the Southeast Asian heroin trade involved indirect complicity rather than direct culpability.

In 2007 Afghanistan produced approximately 8,200 metric tonnes of opium – nearly double the estimate of global annual consumption.[21] In the absence of Taliban, the warlords largely control the opium trade but are also highly useful to the US forces in scouting, providing local intelligence, keeping their own territories clean from Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents, and even taking part in military operations.

CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US
The involvement of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in cocaine trafficking in Central America during the Reagan Administration as part of the Contra war in Nicaragua has been the subject of several official and journalistic investigations since the mid-1980s. Former DEA agent Celerino Castillo alleged that during the 1980s, Ilopango Airport in El Salvador was used by Contras for drug smuggling flights with the knowledge and complicity of the CIA. These allegations were part of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.[22] Castillo also testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Between 1996 and 1998 the Central Intelligence Agency investigated and then published a report about its alleged involvement in cocaine sales in the US. This was prompted by the journalist Gary Webb's report[23] in the San Jose Mercury News

On April 17, 1986, the Reagan Administration released a three-page report acknowledging that there were some Contra-cocaine connections in 1984 and 1985, arguing that these connections occurred at a time when the rebels were "particularly hard pressed for financial support" because U.S. aid had been cut off. The report admitted that "We have evidence of a limited number of incidents in which known drug traffickers have tried to establish connections with Nicaraguan resistance groups." The report tried to downplay the drug activity, claiming that it took place "without the authorization of resistance leaders."[24]

The oldest Mexican Cartel, the Guadalajara cartel, was benefited by the CIA for having connections with the Honduran drug lord Juan Matta-Ballesteros, a CIA asset, who was the head of SETCO, an airline used for smuggling drugs into the US[25] and also used to transport military supplies and personnel for the Nicaraguan Contras, using funds from the accounts established by Oliver North.”.[26] It is also alleged that the DFS, the main Mexican intelligence agency, which is in part a CIA creation and later became the Mexican Center for Research and National Security(CISEN), had among its members the CIA's closest government allies in Mexico. DFS badges, "handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers, have been labelled by DEA agents a virtual 'license to traffic.'".[27]

It is also known that the Guadalajara Cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s, prospered largely, among other reasons, because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nazar Haro, a CIA asset.[27] Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, known as the Godfather of the Mexican drug business and the first Mexican drug lord, provided a significant amount of funding, weapons, and other aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. His pilot, Werner Lotz stated that Gallardo once had him deliver $150,000 in cash to a Contra group, and Gallardo often boasted about smuggling arms to them. His activities were known to several U.S. federal agencies, including the CIA and DEA, but he was granted immunity due to his "charitable contributions to the Contras".[28]

Vicente Zambada Niebla, the son of Ismael Zambada García one of the top drug lords in Mexico, claimed after his arrest to his attorneys that he and other top Sinaloa Cartel members had received immunity by U.S. agents and a virtual licence to smuggle cocaine over the United States border, in exchange for intelligence about rival cartels engaged in the Mexican Drug War.[29][30] It is important to note that this Cartel has been classified as the most powerful[31] drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate in the world. In October 2013, two former federal agents and an ex-CIA contractor told an American television network that CIA operatives were involved in the kidnapping and murder of DEA covert agent Enrique Camarena, because he was a threat to the agency's drug operations in Mexico. According to the three men, the CIA was collaborating with drug traffickers moving cocaine and marijuana to the United States, and using its share of the profits to finance Nicaraguan Contra rebels attempting to overthrow Nicaragua's Sandinista government. A CIA spokesman responded calling "ridiculous" to suggest that the Agency had anything to do with the murder of a US federal agent or the escape of his alleged killer.[32]

The illegal drug trade in Panama includes trans-shipment of cocaine to the United States. The 1989 United States invasion of Panama to topple President Manuel Noriega was justified in part by the need to combat drug trafficking. Noriega, the dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989, had a relationship with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from the 1950s. Throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, Noriega was able to manipulate U.S. policy toward his country, while skillfully accumulating near-absolute power in Panama. It is clear that each U.S. government agency which had a relationship with Noriega turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing. The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America.[25] However, when CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA's activities in Latin America, and the CIA's connections with Noriega became a public relations "liability" for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of allowing his drug operations to proceed unchecked.[25]

The CIA, in spite of objections from the Drug Enforcement Administration, allowed at least one ton of nearly pure cocaine to be shipped into Miami International Airport. The CIA claimed to have done this as a way of gathering information about Colombian drug cartels, but the cocaine ended up being sold on the street.[33]
In November 1993, the former head of the DEA, Robert C. Bonner appeared on 60 Minutes and criticized the CIA for allowing several tons of pure cocaine to be smuggled into the U.S. via Venezuela without first notifying and securing the approval of the DEA.[34]
In November 1996, a Miami grand jury indicted former Venezuelan anti-narcotics chief and longtime CIA asset, General Ramon Guillen Davila, who was smuggling many tons of cocaine into the United States from a Venezuelan warehouse owned by the CIA. In his trial defense, Guillen claimed that all of his drug smuggling operations were approved by the CIA.[35][36]

Personal Freedom & Civil Liberties

the very existence of the DEA and the War on Drugs as both hostile, and contrary, to the concept of civil liberties by arguing that anybody should be free to put any substance they choose into their own bodies for any reason, particularly when legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs are also open to abuse, and that any harm caused by a drug user or addict to the general public is a case of conflicting civil rights. Recurrently, billions of dollars are spent yearly, focusing largely on criminal law and demand reduction campaigns, which has resulted in the imprisonments of thousands of U.S. citizens.[37] It is common for illicit drugs such as cannabis to be widely available in most urban, suburban, and even rural areas in the United States, which leads drug legalization proponents to claim that drug laws have little effect on those who choose not to obey them, and that the resources spent enforcing drug laws are wasted.

Civil liberties are personal guarantees and freedoms that the government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation. No one else is more qualified to make life decisions on your behalf than.... YOU. Any substance you may choose to enjoy without any harm to others or the environment we share should not be infringed by any law nor should that law be enforced with violence. How great can any idea be if it is mandatry and enforced with violence?


1. Snitch: Drug Laws and Snitching - a Primer. Frontline (U.S. TV series). Public Broadcasting Service. The article also has a chart of mandatory minimum sentences for first time drug offenders.
2. Thirty Years of America's Drug War. Frontline (U.S. TV series).
3. War on Drugs. The Global Commission on Drug Policy. 2011. p. 24.
4. Global Commission on Drug Policy Offers Reckless, Vague Drug Legalization Proposal, Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc, July 12, 2011. (PDF).
5. "Drug War Statistics". Drug Policy Alliance. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
6. Austin J, McVey AD. The 1989 NCCD prison population forecast: the impact of the war on drugs. San Francisco: National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 1989.
7. Jim Abrams (July 29, 2010). "Congress passes bill to reduce disparity in crack, powder cocaine sentencing". Washington Post.
8. Burton-Rose (ed.), 1998: pp. 246–247
9. Elsner, Alan (2004). Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America's Prisons. Saddle River, New Jersey: Financial Times Prentice Hall. p. 20. ISBN 0-13-142791-1.
10. United States Sentencing Commission (2002). "Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy". p. 6. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2010. "As a result of the 1986 Act ... penalties for a first-time cocaine trafficking offense: 5 grams or more of crack cocaine = five-year mandatory minimum penalty"
11. "The Fair Sentencing Act corrects a long-time wrong in cocaine cases", The Washington Post, August 3, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
12. Durbin's Fair Sentencing Act Passed By House, Sent To President For Signature[dead link], durbin.senate.gov. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
13. Jesse Ventura. American Conspiracies (New York: Skyshore Publishing, 2010), 117.
14. Cockburn and St. Clair, 1998: Chapter 14
15. Bullington, Bruce; Alan A. Block (March 1990). "A Trojan horse: Anti-communism and the war on drugs". Crime, Law and Social Change (Springer Netherlands)
14 (1): 39–55. doi:10.1007/BF00728225. ISSN 1573-0751.
15. The 1969 marijuana shortage and "Operation Intercept," The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs.
16. Lawrence A. Gooberman, Operation Intercept: The Multiple Consequences of Social Policy.
17. Operation Intercept, Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior.
18. Scott and Marshall, 1991: p. 2
19. 9 November 1991 interview with Alfred McCoy, by Paul DeRienzo
20. p. 385 of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by McCoy, with Cathleen B. Read and Leonard P. Adams II, 2003, ISBN 1-55652-483-8
21. "Afghanistan Update: Heroin Production On The Rise Again In Afghanistan". Common Sense for Drug Policy. November 19, 2007.
23. Restored version of the original "Dark Alliance" web page, San Jose Mercury News, now hosted by The Narco News Bulletin
24. "U.S. Concedes Contras Linked to Drugs, But Denies Leadership Involved", Associated Press (17 April 1986).
25. Cockburn, Alexander & St-Clair, Jeffrey (1998). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press. Verso. p. 282. ISBN 9781859841396.
26. Bunck, Julie M. & Fowler, Michael R. (2012). Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation: Drug Trafficking and the Law in Central America. Penn State Press. p. 274. ISBN 9780271048666.
27. Peter Dale Scott (2000), Washington and the politics of drugs, Variant, 2(11).
28. Scott, Peter Dale & Marshall, Jonathan (1998). Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Latin America. University of California Press. p. 41. ISBN 9780520921283.
29. "Court Pleadings Point to CIA Role in Alleged "Cartel" Immunity Deal | the narcosphere". Narcosphere.narconews.com. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
30. Name * (2011-08-01). "Top Drug Trafficker Claims U.S. Government Made Agreement to Protect Sinaloa Cartel". Public Intelligence. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
31. "U.S. Intelligence Says Sinaloa Cartel Has Won Battle for Ciudad Juarez Drug Routes". CNS News. 9 April 2010.
32. ""Te CIA helped kill DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena," say witnesses". El País (Spain) (in Spanish). 15 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
33. New York Times Service, "Venezuelan general who led CIA program indicted," Dallas Morning News (26 November 1996) p. 6A.
34. Chua, Howard G. (1993-11-29). "Confidence Games". TIME. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
35. Russ Kick, ed. (2001). You are being lied to: the disinformation guide to media distortion, historical whitewashes and cultural myths. The Disinformation Company. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-9664100-7-5.
36. "Venezuelan General Indicted in C.I.A. Scheme". New York Times. 1996-11-23. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
37. "News from DEA, News Releases, 02/10/99". Usdoj.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2011.