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1973 SPECIAL REPORT: "NIXON DRUG LAWS"

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Above All That Drama

President Richard Nixon began America's war on drugs to criminalize black people and hippies, according to a newly revealed 1994 quote from Nixon domestic policy adviser John Ehrlichman.

"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people," Ehrlichman told journalist Dan Baum in 1994. "You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, 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."

The accusation was shocking, characterizing the war on drugs as a racist, politically motivated crusade.

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