GRASS: WAR ON DRUGS PART 2 OF 5
After the prohibition of alcohol ended, the conservative right focused on marijuana as a sin that needed to be controlled. Harry J. Anslinger, the first head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, pursued pot users with a zeal reserved for the criminally insane, which he believed they were, or would become. He received the support of Presidents FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson in his long tenured position.
Film clips of pot users, high and out of control, is interspersed with highlights of meetings with various presidents to sign legislation to control its use. As there are no first person interviews to provide segues to the next clip, the device of using a business chart to show, for a given number of years, how much money was spent by the government on enforcement. In the period 1970-1977, $76 Billion was spent and for 1980-1998, $215 Billion!!
With those types of deterrent dollars, major choices are being made regarding what to fix in our society. For example, the shortfall in Social Security, cancer research or other things could be addressed. NASA is not getting all it wants and that may be the key to a sustainable population on this earth. A high standard of living for an ever-growing population requires research and new discoveries.
If there is a point to the film, it's not that marijuana should be legalized but that there is no meaningful discussion of our costly war on drugs. Politicians are afraid to deal with it, knowing that if they are labeled "pro drugs," it will be hard, if not impossible, to win reelection.
Clearly the issue is 100% politics. With the right wingers losing on alcohol, civil rights and then abortion, they needed a victory. They are too powerful at the voting booth to be ignored, and that is what a democracy is all about. There is give and take from different constituencies.