The Altered States of America

What a long, strange trip it’s been: a drug war timeline.

1619 Jamestown farmers ordered to grow hemp. Three colonies later allow subjects to pay taxes with the plant.

1776 Declaration of Independence drafted on hemp paper.

1869 Prohibition Party founded. Central goals include women’s suffrage and freeing the working class from the evils of drink.

1874 WCTU (Woman’s Christian Temperance Union) founded.

1875 San Francisco bans opium dens.

1886 Coca-Cola created by Atlanta druggist and ex-Confederate officer. Contains cocaine. Southerners call it “a shot in the arm” and trucks selling Coke “dope wagons.”

June 19, 1986 College basketball star Len Bias dies of a drug overdose, triggering severe increases in penalties for crack, though Bias OD’d on powdered cocaine.

Oct 27, 1986 Ronald Reagan budgets $1.7 billion for drug war, federalizes Rockefeller law-style mandatory minimums.

1987 As Carlos Salinas runs for president of Mexico, his brother Raul begins working for the cartels.

1987 Partnership for a Drug-Free America launches “This is your brain on drugs” ad.

1988 Reagan creates Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), making the drug czar a Cabinet-level position. Czar William Bennett campaigns to make drug abuse socially unacceptable, a strategy he calls “denormalization.”

Carry Nation

1903 NY Daily Tribune links cocaine with black crime and calls for legal action against Coca-Cola, which quietly switches to “spent” coca leaves.

1912 Twelve countries sign First International Opium Convention, agreeing to “use their best endeavors” to clamp down on “morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts.”

1914 Opiates, cocaine effectively outlawed.

1914 William Randolph Hearst starts campaign against cannabis, in part for fear that hemp paper could undercut his wood-pulp market share. His papers usher the word “marihuana” into the English language in articles about reefer-crazed blacks raping white women and playing “voodoo-satanic” jazz music. When Pancho Villa’s army seizes Hearst estates during Mexican Revolution, he denounces Mexicans as lazy drug addicts.

Jan 16, 1919 Alliance between WCTU, Prohibition Party, Progressives, Ku Klux Klan, and Kansas reformers helps ratify 18th Amendment, outlawing “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” Drinking still legal.

1919-1933 Bootlegging fuels organized crime. By Prohibition’s end, arrests for drunkenness and disorderly conduct up 41%; federal prison population up 366%.

1929 Montana outlaws pot because, as one doctor explains, “When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff…he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies.”

1930 Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) created. Chief Harry J. Anslinger pushes for harsh punishments for drug possession.

1932 Progressives now against Prohibition. FDR campaigns for president promising its repeal.

Dec 5, 1933 21st Amendment repeals Prohibition. Organized crime plummets overnight.

1936 Church group finances Tell Your Children, a film about the manslaughter, suicide, rape, and insanity that ensue when kids try pot. Bought by exploitation film producer, who renames it Reefer Madness.

Aug 2, 1937 FDR signs bill effectively outlawing marijuana.

1942 USDA films Hemp for Victory to promote production for war effort.

1950s FBN chief Anslinger provides Sen. Joe McCarthy morphine for fear that exposing his addiction would put country at risk. “On the day he died,” Anslinger later writes, “I thanked God for relieving me of my burden.”

1950s-1960s CIA program MKULTRA uses LSD to conduct mind-control and chemical interrogation experiments on unwitting subjects.

1967 The BBC refuses to play the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” because of the apparent reference to LSD. John Lennon maintains the song was inspired by a picture drawn by his son Julian.

Jan 14, 1967 Former Harvard prof Timothy Leary goes to San Francisco’s Human Be-In and utters the immortal “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

1968 Tom Wolfe publishes The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Sept 1969 To combat marijuana imports, US launches Operation Intercept, searching all traffic along the Mexican border for 3 weeks and costing both countries millions.

Aug 23, 1970 A New York Times Magazine article concludes, “It is now the very rare college student who has never tried [marijuana].”

Oct 27, 1970 The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act reduces penalties for marijuana possession. Also allows police to conduct “no-knock” searches and establishes five “schedules” of drugs based on their medicinal value and potential for addiction.

Sept 5, 1989 President George H.W. Bush unveils anti-drug program by holding up 3 ounces of crack purchased by DEA agents “in a park across the street from the White House.” It is later revealed that agents entrapped the dealer—a high school student.

Dec 1989 Citing drug trafficking, Bush invades Panama and deposes former ally Noriega. GAO later reports drug trafficking “may have doubled” and money laundering “flourished” following the invasion.

Nov 1991 While trying to stop a coke shipment, Mexican federales are killed by Mexican soldiers in the pay of Colombian cartels. One general imprisoned, then quietly released.

1991 New Jack City is a major box-office hit. The movie provides fodder for hip-hop artists including Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Biggie Smalls.

1992 Salinas severely restricts DEA agents operating in Mexico.

Dec 1993 Colombian police kill Medellín chief Pablo Escobar using US cell phone-trace technology.

1994 NAFTA increases border traffic, making it easier to smuggle.

1994 War on Drugs now imprisons 1 million people a year.

May 1995 Sentencing Commission urges Congress to remedy race-based disparities for cocaine and crack sentencing. Congress ignores it.

Nov 1995 Federales spotted unloading a drug plane belonging to Colombia’s Cali cartel.

1996 Cali cartel dismantled. Mexican cartels now ascendant, especially the Gulf cartel, which recruits elite soldiers to form the cartel’s feared armed wing, Los Zetas.

1996 Gary Webb publishes “Dark Alliance” series in the San Jose Mercury News accusing CIA of helping contras smuggle cocaine into the US during the 1980s. Webb is discredited by media, is demoted, resigns, and commits suicide in 2004. Internal CIA probe ultimately corroborates many of Webb’s claims.

1997 Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) blocks the nomination of Massachusetts governor William Weld as ambassador to Mexico, saying that the Republican’s support for medical marijuana and needle exchange programs makes him unfit to serve.

1997 C.R.A.C.K. (Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity), a California nonprofit, offers $200 to any drug-addicted woman who agrees to be sterilized or get birth-control implants. Founder Barbara Harris explains, “We don’t allow dogs to breed…We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children.”

1998 Congress requires drug czar to oppose legalization of drugs and any research on legalization.

Jan 10, 1998 Onion article declares, “Drugs Win Drug War.”

1998-2000 Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey pays TV networks to include anti-drug content in shows like Beverly Hills, 90210.

1999 California cracks down on meth labs, driving production to Mexico, fueling cartel revenue, addiction, and violent crime.

2000 Clinton’s $1.3 billion Plan Colombia provides country with helicopters, crop dusters, and surveillance planes. Eight years and $6 billion later, coca crop has expanded 15%.

Jan 8, 2001 Ronald Reagan’s 22-year-old grandson, Cameron, is ordered to spend 90 days in a drug rehab program after pleading guilty to marijuana possession.

Jan 19, 2001 Sinaloa cartel head Joaquín Guzmán “escapes” from supermax Mexican prison.

Elvis and Nixon

June 17, 1971 Borrowing language from LBJ’s War on Poverty, Richard Nixon declares War on Drugs, calling narcotics “public enemy No. 1.” For the only time during the War on Drugs, the majority of funding goes toward treatment.

1972 US and French law enforcement bust the “French Connection,” a smuggling operation controlled by Corsican gangsters and the Mafia, resulting in a heroin shortage on the East Coast.

March 1972 Nixon-ordered Shafer Commission recommends decriminalization, finding that “neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.” Nixon ignores the report.

May 8, 1973 NY gov. Nelson Rockefeller signs law establishing mandatory minimums.

July 1973 Nixon forms Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

1975 President’s commission headed by Rockefeller reveals MKULTRA program. CIA admits it had little scientific purpose.

Nov 1975 Colombian police seize 600 kilos of cocaine. Traffickers respond with “Medellín Massacre.”

1976 Jimmy Carter runs for president; pledges to decriminalize pot.

1977 Eric Clapton releases “Cocaine.”

April 26, 1977 Studio 54 opens. Dance floor is decorated with “man in the moon” image complete with cocaine spoon.

May 30, 1977 Newsweek reports, “Among hostesses in the smart sets of Los Angeles and New York, a little cocaine, like Dom Pérignon and Beluga caviar, is now de rigueur at dinners.” The article cautions that cocaine can be dangerous but “a number of researchers have concluded that it can be safer than liquor and cigarettes when used discriminately.”

Aug 16, 1977 Elvis dies; at least 10 legal drugs in system.

July 21, 1978 After aides admit to smoking pot, Carter drops push to decriminalize.

1978 Medellín cartel cofounder Carlos Lehder buys a 165-acre island in the Bahamas, which is used as refueling spot for planes flying drugs from Colombia to the United States until 1983.

1982 Panamanian leader General Manuel Noriega cuts a deal with Pablo Escobar to allow the Medellín cartel to ship cocaine through Panama.

1982 To cut off main point of entry of drugs into US, Vice President George H.W. Bush heads the South Florida Drug Task Force. Trade moves to Mexican border.

Oct 9, 1982 Sen. Joe Biden coins the term “drug czar.”

1983 Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), a program in which police officers talk to kids about drug use, is founded in Los Angeles.

Nov 6, 1984 The DEA and Mexican agents raid five marijuana farms in the Chihuahua desert and seize 9,000 tons of marijuana worth an estimated $4 billion. US officials declare the event the “Bust of the Century.” The previous bust record was 570 tons.

Jan 29, 2002 Noelle Bush, daughter of Florida governor Jeb Bush and niece of President Bush, is arrested for forging a Xanax prescription. During her court-ordered rehab, she is found with two grams of cocaine and is sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Feb 3, 2002 ONDCP spends $3.4 million on Super Bowl ads warning, “Where do terrorists get their money? If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you.”

Nov 5, 2002 Nelson Rockefeller’s granddaughter, Meile, is arrested for protesting the harshness of the Rockefeller Drug Laws in front of the New York governor’s office.

2003 80% of US school districts now have much-touted DARE programs. GAO finds “no significant differences in illicit drug use between students who received DARE…and students who did not.”

2004 War on Terror and War on Drugs officially merge in the Kabul Counternarcotics Implementation Plan. Three years later, Afghanistan has record opium crop.

Feb 25, 2004 Thirty leading doctors and scientists issue a letter asking the press to stop using the term “crack baby.” “None of us,” the researchers explain, “has identified a recognizable condition, syndrome or disorder that should be termed ‘crack baby.'” One of the signatories is Dr. Ira Chasnoff.

2005 US v. Booker allows judges to deviate from federal mandatory minimums. Median possession sentences fall 56% overnight.

June 2005 Harvard economist estimates $10-$14 billion in savings and tax revenue if pot is legalized. 500 economists, including 3 Nobel laureates, sign letter in support.

Jan 2006 Authorities announce the discovery of a half-mile-long tunnel linking a warehouse in Tijuana to a warehouse in the United States where 200 pounds of marijuana were found.

Dec 2006 Mexican president Felipe Calderón declares war on the cartels, deploys 45,000 troops. Thousands of gang members killed; smuggling routes disrupted. Instability leads to rise in violence among cartels and between cartels and the Army.

March 2007 The Lancet reports that as far as drug prohibition goes, “the exclusion of alcohol and tobacco…is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary.”

2008 US Mérida Initiative allocates $1.4 billion to combat Mexican drug trade. Mexican politicians protest conditions requiring human rights monitoring.

2008 An ad by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America advises parents to talk to their kids about drug use, but notes that there is “no need to reveal you smoked marijuana 132 times.”

Jan 2009 NY gov. David Paterson says, “I can’t think of a criminal justice strategy that has been more unsuccessful than the Rockefeller drug laws.”

March 2009 Forbes names Sinaloa cartel leader Guzmán the world’s 701st richest person. Lists industry as “shipping.”

Nancy Reagan on Different Strokes

Mid-1980s Crack epidemic hits poor US neighborhoods.

Feb 1985 DEA agent Enrique Camarena is kidnapped and murdered in Mexico. The Mexicans’ lack of cooperation leads US to launch a crackdown on the Mexican border. Camarena’s body is found within a month, as is evidence of Mexican cover-up.

Sept 12, 1985 Dr. Ira Chasnoff writes article for the New England Journal of Medicine warning that cocaine use by pregnant women could lead to developmental problems. Media begin making wildly exaggerated claims about “crack babies.”

1986 Reagan signs National Security Directive No. 221, expressing concern over narcostates, “where a combination of international criminal trafficking organizations, rural insurgents, and urban terrorists can undermine the stability of the local government.”

March 2009 Almost 11,000 dead since Calderón declared war on the cartels.

March 11, 2009 Obama demotes drug czar from Cabinet.

May 13, 2009 Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske says he wants to banish term “War on Drugs” and favor treatment over incarceration to reduce illicit drug use.

2009 40% of the 288,000 Americans admitted to rehab for marijuana use have not used the drug in the month prior to their admission. Roughly 2/3 are there as part of a deal to avoid jail time.

The Altered States of America: Sources

1619: “The Hemp Controversy: Can Industrial Hemp Save Kentucky?” Kentucky Law Journal, Susan David Dwyer, 1997; “Hemp in Colonial Virginia,” Agricultural History, G.M. Herndon, Volume 37, No. 2, April 1963, p. 86-93; Hemp: American History Revisited, Robert Deitch, Algora Publishing, 2003, p. 16; Hemp Facts

1776: Cannabis: A History, Martin Booth, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003, p. 42; Encyclopedia of World Environmental History, New York: Routledge Press, 2003, p. 523

1874: Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

1875: Review of Reviews from June 5, 1892, Schaffer Library of Drug Policy; The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics, Richard Davenport-Hines, New York: WW Norton & Co, p. 126

1881: Prohibition in Kansas, Noah McFarland and Francis McCabe, Kansas House Publishing, 1889, p. 3.; Kansas State Historical Society Official Website: Temperance Timeline; The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation, Carry Amelia Nation, Steves & Sons, 1908; Kansas Historical Society on Carry Nation

1886: Coca-Cola Company; “Jim Crow’s Drug War: Race, Coca Cola, and the Southern Origins of Drug Prohibition,” Southern Cultures, Michael Cohen, Fall 2006, p. 55-79; For God, Country and Coca-Cola: A Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It, Mark Pendergrast, New York: Basic Books, 2000; “Coke’s The One: The Centennial of the Ideal Brain Tonic That Became a Symbol of America,” Southern Medical Journal, 1988; Mill Town: Coke and Dope; “Coca-Cola and Dope: An Etymology,” American Speech, 1963

1903: “Cocaine Sniffers: Use of the Drug Increasing Among Negroes of the South,” New-York Daily Tribune, June 21, 1903; Government and Public Health in America, Ronald Hamowy, 2007, p. 140

1914: Department of the Treasury: History of the Treasury Timeline

1914: William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, Ben Proctor, Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 51; Phone interview with Friedrich Katz, Department of History at University of Chicago; The Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California; Pipe dream blues: Racism and the War on Drugs, Dennis Desmond and Clarence Lusane, Boston: South End Press, 1991, p. 37; Hemp: American History Revisited, Robert Deitch, Algora Publishing, 2003, p. 86; “Gunboat Rescues Americans,” New York Times, June 24, 1916

January 16, 1919: Archives of Constitutional Amendments; David J. Hanson, PhD, on Prohibition; Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History, ABC-CLIO, 2003, p. 593; Domesticating Drink, Catherine Murdock, JHU Press, 2002, p. 6; US Government’s Volstead Act Educational Archives; Prohibition Party; Prejudice and the Old Politics, Allan Lichtman, p. 77, Lexington Books, 2000; Anxious Decades, Michael Parrish, WW Norton and Company, 1994, p. 96; Woman’s World/Woman’s Empire, Ian Tyrell, UNC Press, 1991, p. 20; The Constitutionalism of American States, University of Missouri Press, 2002; Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey, Brian Yaeger, Macmillan, 2008; “The Wets and the Drys: Binary Images of Women and Alcohol in Popular Culture,” Communication, Thelma McCormack, New York University, 1986, p. 43-64

1919-1933: Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure; Albany Website on Prohibition; Federal statistics

1929: “The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge: An Inquiry Into the Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition,” Virginia Law Review, October 1970

1930: Report on Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy; Government Archives of the DEA; National Park Service: History

1932: Chronological History of US Foreign Relations, Lester Brune and Richard Dean Burns, New York: Routledge, 2003; More on Prohibition from David Hanson

December 5, 1933: Archives of Constitutional Amendments; Interview with David Kennedy at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice

1936: History of Reefer Madness

August 2, 1937: Franklin Roosevelt; Marihuana Tax Act of 1937

1942: Hemp for Victory on YouTube

1950s: The Murderers, Harry Anslinger and Will Oursler, Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1961; Editorial on Joe McCarthy; Jack Herer; Drug use, Policy, and Management, Richard Isralowitz, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, p. 133

1950s-1960s: GAO report on Human Experimentation: An Oversight on Cold War Era Programs, September 28, 1994, p. 6; Declassified MKULTRA Project Documents

January 14, 1967: Handbook of Addictive Disorders: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment, Robert Coombs, Wiley Publishing, 2004, p. 15; The Politics of Ecstasy, Timothy Leary, Berkeley: Ronin Publishing, 1980; Sixties Radicals, Then and Now: Candid Conversations With Those Who Shaped the Era, Ron Chepesiuk, McFarland & Co., 1995, p. 147; Department of Justice on Leary

1968: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

September 1969: “Operation Intercept Continues,” Rome News Tribune, September 29, 1969; “The International Challenge of Drug Abuse: The Mexican Experience,” National Institute on Drug Abuse Report, Guido Belsasso; Consumers Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs

December 21, 1970: Elvis’ letter to Nixon

June 17, 1971: Issues in Brief for Congress; War on Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments, April 14, 2003; Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics, Matthew Robinson and Renee Scherlen, SUNY Press, 2007; Congressional Record, March 21, 2000; Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs, Noam Chomsky, South End Press: 2000; Interview with Dr. Jerome Jaffe

March 1972: The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, Commissioned by President Nixon, March 1972; CSDP Research Report, March 2002

May 8, 1973: New York State Assembly leader Sheldon Silver on Rockefeller laws; Population Impact of Mass Incarceration Under New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws: An Analysis of Years of Life Lost, Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, September 2002; Life on the Outside, Jennifer Gonnerman, Macmillan, 2005

July 1973: DEA history site

1975: Rockefeller Commission Report; Declassified MKULTRA docs; Senate hearing on MKULTRA

November 1975: Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography, Dominic Streatfeild, Macmillan, 2003

1976: YouTube video of President Carter on decriminalizing marijuana

1977: Slowhand, Eric Clapton, 1977

April 26, 1977: Moon and Spoon: Studio 54

May 30, 1977: “The Cocaine Scene,” Newsweek, Richard Steele, May 30, 1977

August 16, 1977: Elvis Site 1; Elvis Site 2; Elvis Site 3; Elvis Site 4

July 22, 1978: “Cocaine-Sniffing Incident,” Washington Post; “Bourne Took Illegal Drug at Party, Witness Says,” July 28, 1978; “The Wrong Rx for Peter Bourne,” Time, July 31, 1978; The Quest for Drug Control, David Musto and Pamela Korsmeyer, Yale University Press, 2002

1982: Divorcing the Dictator: America’s Bungled Affair With Noriega, Referick Kempe, I.B. Tauris, 1990

1982: Report to Congress on the Activities and Operations of the Public Integrity Section for 1985; “The Three US-Mexico Border Wars,” Tony Payan, Praeger Security International General Interest, 2006; Sleepwalking Through History, Haynes Bonner Johnson, WW Norton and Co., 2003; “Puerto Rico Called New Entry Point for South American Drugs,” Associated Press, September 2, 1984

October 9, 1982: “US Plans a New Drive on Narcotics,” New York Times, October 9, 1982

1983: YouTube video of Nancy Reagan in the episode “The Reporter

Mid-1980s: DEA History Book: 1985-1990

February 1985: Official DEA Biography; PBS War on Drugs Timeline; interview with former DEA administrator, Jack Lawn

September 12, 1985: “Cocaine Use in Pregnancy,” Ira Chasnoff, New England Journal of Medicine, September 12, 1985

September 12, 1985: Crack Babies

September 12, 1985: Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice, Craig Reinarman and Harry Gene Levine, 1997

June 19, 1986: “Maryland Basketball Star Len Bias Is Dead at 22,” Keith Harriston and Sally Jenkins, Washington Post, June 20, 1986; “10 Years Later, Bias’s Death Still Resonates,” David Nakamura and Mark Asher, Washington Post, June 19, 1996; “A Social History of America’s Most Popular Drugs,” PBS Frontline; “Len Bias – The Death That Ushered in Two Decades of Destruction,” Peter Guither,, June 19, 2006; “Up in Smoke,” Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, New York Times, August 7, 2005

October 27, 1986: “Thirty Years of America’s Drug War,” PBS Frontline; “The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act,” Families Against Mandatory Minimums; Rockefeller Drug Laws Information Sheet, Aaron D. Wilson, Partnership for Responsible Drug Information

1987: Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Encarta; “Man in The News; a Mexican on the Fast Track: Carlos Salinas de Gortari,” Larry Rohter, New York Times, October 5, 1987; “The Comandante,” Christine Biederman, Texas Monthly, July 1997; Raul Salinas, PBS Frontline

1987: “The Partnership’s ‘Fried Egg’ TV Message,” The Partnership for a Drug Free America, October 24, 2006

1988: Snitch: Informants, Cooperators and the Corruption of Justice, Ethan Brown, 2007; “What Is Addiction, and How Can We Treat It?,” PBS Frontline

September 5, 1989: “Drug Buy Set Up For Bush Speech,” Michael Isikoff, Washington Post, September 22, 1989; “White House Set Up Drug Buy in the Park for Bush TV Speech,” Maureen Dowd, New York Times, September 23, 1989; Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs , Clarence Lusane, 1991; “Mistrial Declared in Cocaine Arrest Near White House,” Barton Gellman, Washington Post, December 22, 1989

December 1989: “Operation Just Cause,” Ronald H. Cole, Joint History Office, 1995; “Operation Just Cause,”; “Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama,” GAO Report, July 1991; “Fighting in Panama: The President; A Transcript of Bush’s Address on the Decision to Use Force in Panama,” New York Times, December 21, 1989

November 1992: John E. Hensley interview, PBS Frontline, 2000

December 1993: “Timeline: America’s War on Drugs,” NPR, April 2, 2007

1994: “New Mexico Drug Threat Assessment,” National Drug Intelligence Center, April 2002; Border Games: Policing the US-Mexico Divide, Peter Andreas, 2001; “FTAA’s Drug Deal,” New American, September 6, 2004

1994: “The estimated number of arrests for drug abuse violations for adults has been increasing,” Bureau of Justice Statistics; “The War on Drugs – A Peace Proposal,” L. Grinspoon and J. B. Bakalar, New England Journal of Medicine, February 3, 1994

May 1995: “Interested Persons Memo on Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Policy,” American Civil Liberties Union, May 21, 2001; “Disapproval Of Sentencing Guideline Amendments Re: Crack Cocaine Including Dissenting View,” Excerpts from House of Representatives Report, September 29, 1995

November 1995: “U.S. Drug Policy: Addicted to Failure,” Mathea Falco, Foreign Policy; “Drug Plane Lands in Mexico and Is Unloaded, Possibly by Police,” Sam Dillon, New York Times, November 30, 1995

1996: “The Colombian Cartels,” PBS Frontline; “DTO 101: The Gulf Cartel,” Mexico’s Drug War

1996: “The Truth in ‘Dark Alliance’,” Nick Schou, Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2006; “The Sad Saga of Gary Webb,” Susan Paterno, American Journalism Review, June/July 2005; “Gary Webb, of Controversial CIA/Crack Series, Dead in Apparent Suicide,” Associated Press, December 12, 2004; “Total Coverage: The CIA, Contras, and Drugs,” Eric Umansky, Mother Jones, August 25, 1998

1998: Reauthorization Act of 1998, Office of National Drug Control Policy, 1998

January 10, 1998: “Drugs Win Drug War,” The Onion, January 10, 1998

1998-2000: “Congress Looks at Relationship Between Government, TV Networks,” The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, February 14, 2000; “Prime-Time Propaganda,” Daniel Forbes, Salon, January 13, 2000

1999: Maps of Methamphetamine Lab Incidents, US Drug Enforcement Administration; “Mexico Security Memo: July 28, 2008,” Stratfor Global Intelligence, July 28, 2008; “With U.S. Crackdowns, Meth Labs Proliferate in Mexico,” Join Together, May 10, 2005; “Plunge in Meth Labs Paves Way for Potent Import,” Howard Berkes, NPR, April 3, 2007; “Mexico Drug Use Soars as U.S. Meth Labs Shift South,” Aline Corpus, Reuters, May 9, 2005; DEA Briefs: California 2008, US Drug Enforcement Administration; “Where Have All the Meth Labs Gone? South of the Border,” Drugs-Forum, September 13, 2008

2000: “PLAN COLOMBIA: Drug Reduction Goals Were Not Fully Met, but Security Has Improved; U.S. Agencies Need More Detailed Plans for Reducing Assistance,” GAO Report, October 2008

January 19, 2001: “Drug Smuggler Tops Mexico’s Most Wanted List,” Jason Beaubien, NPR, July 15, 2008; “Prison Employees Held in Probe Over Escaped Drug Trafficker,” Associated Press, January 30, 2001; “Targeting Mexico’s Drug Cartels: Is the Sinaloa Federation Next?Stratfor Global Intelligence, November 30, 2007

February 3, 2002: Drugs and Drug Policy: The Control of Consciousness Alteration, Clayton James Mosher and Scott Akins, 2006; “The Persistence of Folly: ONDCP’s Anti Drug Media Campaign,” Common Sense for Drug Policy; “O&M Managing US Government’s Anti-Drugs Propaganda,” Corporate Watch, July 2002

2003: “Youth Illicit Drug Use Prevention: DARE Long-Term Evaluations and Federal Efforts to Identify Effective Programs,” GAO Report, January 15, 2003

2004: “U.S. Counternarcotics Policy in Afghanistan: Time for Leadership,” Statement of Michael A. Braun before the Committee on International Relations, US House of Representatives, March 17, 2005, US Drug Enforcement Administration; “U.S. Counternarcotics Policy in Afghanistan: Time for Leadership,” Hearing before the Committee on International Relations, US House of Representatives, March 17, 2005; “Record Opium Crop in Southern Afghanistan,” Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian, June 27, 2007; “Second Record Level for Afghan Opium Crop,” David Rohde, New York Times, August 28, 2007; “Record-Breaking Opium Crop Destabilizes Afghanistan,” Jon Hemming, Reuters, August 25, 2007

February 25, 2004: “Physicians, Scientists to Media: Stop Using the Term ‘Crack Baby,'” Join Together, February 25, 2004

2005: “Fact Sheet: The Impact of United States v. Booker on Federal Sentencing,” US Drug Enforcement Administration, March 15, 2005; United States v. Booker, Supreme Court of the United States, 2005; “Final Report on the Impact of United States v. Booker On Federal Sentencing,” US Sentencing Commission, March 15, 2005

June 2005: “An Open Letter to the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislatures,” Prohibition Costs, June 2005; “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition in the US,” Prohibition Costs, June 2005

December 2006: “Mexico’s Drug War Takes to the Barricades,” Ioan Grillo, Time, February 19, 2009; “Mexico at War: On the Front Lines,” William Booth, Steve Fainaru, and Travis Fox, Washington Post, April 2, 2009

March 2007: “Development of a Rational Scale to Assess the Harm of Drugs of Potential Misuse,” David Nutt, The Lancet, March 2007; “Alcohol, Tobacco Make Top 10 List of Risky Drugs,” Associated Press, March 24, 2007; “Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than Illegal Drugs?” Scott Conroy, Associated Press, March 24, 2007

2008: Remarks on the House floor by Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on his Legislation H.R. 6028, authorizing the Merida Initiative, June 10, 2008; “U.S. Merida Aid Initiative Angers Some in Mexico,” Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times, June 05, 2008; “Plan Mexico,” Laura Carlsen, Foreign Policy in Focus, October 30, 2007; “US Congress Approves Anti-Drug Aid for Mexico, Central America,” AFP, June 2008

January 2009: “Paterson Once Arrested Over Rockefeller Drug Law Reform,” Irene Jay Liu, Times Union, January 8, 2009; “New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws,” Madison Gray, Time, April 2, 2009

March 2009: “#701 Joaquin Guzman Loera,” Forbes, March 11, 2009

March 2009: “Taking on the Narcos, and Their American Guns,” The Economist, April 2, 2009; “Suman 10 Mil 475 Ejecuciones en Esta Administracion: PGR,” María de la Luz Gonzalez, El Universal, March 25, 2009; “Over 10,000 Dead: Is Mexican Drug War Violence Ebbing?” Kristin Bricker, The Narcosphere, April 17, 2009

March 11, 2009: “Seattle Police Chief Selected as Drug Czar,” David Stout, New York Times, March 11, 2009; “Obama to Name Seattle Police Chief as Drug Czar,” Reuters, March 11, 2009; “Seattle Police Chief Is Obama’s Drug Czar Choice,” MSNBC, March 11, 2009

May 13, 2009: “White House Czar Calls for End to ‘War on Drugs,'” Gary Fields, Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2009; “Abolishing The War On Drugs,” Chris Good, The Atlantic, May 14, 2009


DEA History: 75-80

DEA History: 80-85

DEA History Book: 85-90


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Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

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