Richard Nixon's War on Drugs: Happy Anniversary! Candlelight Vigil Marks the Occasion

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Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 2:35 PM
click to enlarge Richard Nixon checks out a package of marijuana
  • Richard Nixon checks out a package of marijuana

As part of Richard Nixon's farewell to the press and the nation, he famously said, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore."

But tody, June 17 - the 40th anniversary of Nixon officially declaring a "war on drugs" - is a special exception.

For today and tomorrow, folks from LA to Boston are taking a little time out of their day to kick a dead man while he's down, holding candlelight vigils in remembrance of one of the greatest policy failures this nation has ever endured.

The Students for Sensible Drug Policy, an international grassroots network of students, is organizing a slew of candlelight vigils across the country. Here in LA, it will be Saturday at 8 p.m. at Chuco's Justice Center in Inglewood.

According to the organization:

Friday, June 17, 2011, marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of the "war on drugs." His decision catapulted the U.S. into a wasteful, decades-long, failed effort that has had zero impact on drug consumption in the U.S., but has had profound negative impacts on communities in the U.S. an around the world, and on communities of color in particular. Students for Sensible Drug Policy, in partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance, has organized a nationwide day of action to highlight the impacts of this ill-fated war.

In all, 50 events will be held in cities across the country, including Chicago, New York, San Fransisco and Washington, D.C.

"Our country needs a new vision for how we respond to drug addiction, use and abuse of controlled substances," said Rodrigo "Froggy" Vazquez, who is organizing the vigil in LA. "We cannot incarcerate ourselves out of a public health problem."

The events come just weeks after the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report which, according to news stories, called for decriminalization and legal regulation as a better way to address drugs.

Other events around LA include a forum of top Latino city leaders at the William C. Velásquez Institute discussing the impact of the drug war on Latino communities.

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