The world’s largest drug consumer
The world’s largest drug consumer U.S. Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in 1970, and the United States strengthened the control of drugs and addictive drugs nationwide. However, after successive administrations such as Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, etc.,
The control of drugs in the United States has changed from the original “extemption” to the current “legal” and even “freedom from punishment” in many states, and finally made the United States the world’s largest drug. Consumer country.
Recently, Oregon passed bills (Bills 109 and 110) to “free or mitigate criminal penalties” for people who possess small amounts of cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Lawmakers believe that this move will change the previous punitive drug policy towards a more “humane” and “healthy” direction. But it also attracts more opposition that the legalization or even impunity of various types of drugs may make drugs more accessible to young people and thus cause more serious social problems.
Soon after the passage of Oregon’s law to legalize small amounts of drugs, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, New Jersey and Mississippi also declared marijuana legal. So far, 35 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational purposes respectively.
Before the current round of “legalization of marijuana”, the distribution map of marijuana legality in various states in the United States, the four diagram notes below indicate four kinds of “fully legal”, “hopefully legal”, “medical marijuana legal” and “illegal” respectively from left to right.
On the map, the dark green area means “completely legal”, dark green means “hopefully legal”, light green means “medical marijuana is legal”, and orange means “unlawful”.
According to the UN World Drug Report 2019, the synthetic opioid overdose crisis in North America reached a new height in 2017, with more than 47,000 recorded deaths from opioid overdose in the United States, an increase of 13 percent over 2016.
According to the 2019 report of the U.S. think tank RAND, the consumption of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs in the United States reached 150 billion US dollars in 2016, almost the same as the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the United States that year, while the consumption of heroin and marijuana is still rising.
In fact, since the 1960s and 1970s, the United States has experienced a half-century-long “drug war”. Since the passage of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act by the United States Congress in 1970, the United States has strengthened the control of drugs and addictive drugs nationwide.
However, since the Nixon administration, after several presidential administrations, the control of drugs in the United States has changed from the original “extly prohibited” to the current multi-state “legal”, the magnitude of the transformation and the serious consequences are staggering. The change in the control of drugs in the United States for half a century has finally made the United States the world’s largest drug consumer.
Cannabis in the United States – from fabric to drugs
Cannabis is a plant of the genus Sanaceae, native to India, Bhutan and Central Asia. Now it is cultivated in all countries. In the United States, the first recorded artificial cultivation of cannabis was introduced and cultivated by British colonists in Jamestown, near Virginia in 1611.
Due to the prevailing maritime trade at that time, cannabis was widely used to make the ropes and sails of ships because of its high strength of stem and leaf fibers, and cannabis became a strategic material.
George Washington, the first president of the United States, also mentioned the breeding and cultivation of cannabis in his diary on August 7, 1756. Not only Washington, but also President Jefferson, Roosevelt and Ford’s founder Henry Ford have all grown marijuana on their farms.
Cannabis (scientological name: Cannabis sativa L.) It is a mulberry marijuana, an annual erect herb, 1-3 meters high. Branches have longitudinal grooves, dense gray-white hairs. Leaf palmately fully lobed, lobes lanceolate or linearly lanceolate, especially female plants’ dried flowers and hairy bodies. Cannabis cultivation can peel hemp harvests. There are females and males.
Male plants are called crotic, and female plants are called crotic. Medically, cannabis is often used to assist in the treatment of certain advanced diseases (cancer, AIDS) to increase appetite, relieve pain, relieve neurological symptoms and stabilize mood, but new research shows that taking marijuana can cause irreversible damage to the nervous system.
But with the development of medicine and chemistry, the medicinal value of cannabis began to highlight. In the pharmacological accounts of some countries, cannabis is often used to treat insomnia. In 1841, Irish physician William Brooke O’Shaughnessy brought the calming application of cannabis he found in India to Britain. However, at that time, the human application of cannabis only found that it had a psychosedative effect, but its principle and real ingredients were still unclear, and the harm it caused to human beings was even more unclear.
In 1854, the American Pharmacopoeia began to include cannabis as a national drug. At this time, the cultivation and use of cannabis were completely legal in the United States. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, marijuana began to be boycotted by the U.S. federal government, but not because of the perception of the harm of marijuana, but because of racism and xenophobia.
Due to the domestic political turmoil and economic depression in Mexico at the end of the 19th century, a large number of Mexican immigrants crossed the border north in search of asylum and survival opportunities, along with Mexican immigrants who migrated north, there was also the habit of recreational use of marijuana.
Cheap labor from Mexico has hit jobs in the United States, and habits such as marijuana smoking quickly swept the United States.
The ensuing chaos of security, coupled with the media’s exaggeration of Mexican immigration, marijuana and crime, triggered racist and xenophobic thoughts in American society at that time. In 1913, the California Department of Medicine amended the Hazardous Substances Act to include marijuana, becoming the first state in the United States to regulate marijuana. Since then, other states have followed suit.
In 1915, the Harrison Narcotics Act came into effect, changing the situation that drugs can be purchased at will, but the bill restricts the purchase of relatively weak drugs such as marijuana.
Although the Harrison Narcotics Act covered almost all addictive and harmful drugs and drugs on the market at that time, it was subject to the constraints of raw material producers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, doctors’ associations and other organizations. Finally, the Harrison Narcotics Act compromised on a variety of drugs and drugs.
The new bill makes it easier for consumers to buy related drugs, and the changed bill still leaves room for the wanton circulation of drugs and related drugs in the United States.
At that time, doctors only needed to pay $1 a year to obtain legal business documents, while buyers could buy opium, morphine, heroin and other drugs at prescribed doses by filling in the purchase form voluntarily. In addition, the bill did not impose strict penalties for violators, but due to then President Wood Wilson’s push for the implementation of the bill and the general disgust of drug abuse in American society at that time, the society implemented the bill relatively well.
By 1930, the number of states in the United States with marijuana control had increased to 14. A year later, the control of cannabis became more common, and 30 states across the United States passed legislation to control the non-medical sale and use of cannabis. In 1932, the United States achieved unified legislative administration of marijuana nationwide through the Uniform State Narcotics Act.
However, mainstream historians generally believe that the regulation of marijuana in the United States at that time was due to narrow nationalism and the transfer of social contradictions.
In 1937, considering the strategic material of cannabis itself as an industrial raw material, then-US President Roosevelt signed the Cannabis Tax Act, trying to prevent a one-size-fits-all ban from affecting the storage and production of cannabis as a strategic material by increasing taxes on cannabis, but the Cannabis Tax Act does not affect industrial use and There is a strict distinction between narcotic cannabis.
With the further expansion of the production of military materials such as cables and parachutes, cannabis smuggling has also developed among the American people. Also during World War II, with the accumulation of a large number of medical clinical research on cannabis, its nature as a drug was gradually proved. But at this time, marijuana as a drug also spread in American society.
After the end of World War II, heroin has become a popular drug in American society. Officials believe that most heroin users start with marijuana. In 1956, the United States Congress passed the Narcotics Control Act, and the federal and state governments entered an extremely strict stage of marijuana control.
The “drug war” triggered by two wars
From the 1960s onwards, due to the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the U.S. government made unprecedented military investment. However, after the end of World War II, such a large-scale military expenditure was in great opposition to the anti-war trend of American society at that time. Counterculture represented by the “Beat Generation” prevails in the United States, society is overly laissezed, and drugs have become the symbol of the “Beat Generation” young Americans to rebel against mainstream culture.
It was also during this period that research began to question the link between cannabis and crime, and the drug policy of the United States began to change, and the punishment of drug offenders began to be relaxed.
During the same period, advances in pharmaceutical chemical synthesis technology provided a large number of synthetic drugs for young people in the United States at that time, such as LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide), also known as ergodiacetamide, is a strong semi-artificial hallucinogen, mostly using LSD.
People also use marijuana or heroin at the same time. In 1970, the United States Congress promulgated the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which established a system of adjustment of drug classification and ended the extreme severe punishment stage for drugs. In 1972, 42 states and the District of Columbia implemented the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, and possession of marijuana was classified as a misdemeanor.
LSD was first colorless, odorless and tasteless, just like clear pure water; later, drug dealers dripped the LSD solvent on paper and directly immersed the printed small paper in LSD solution.
A small piece of paper was dosed from 30 to 50 micrograms. The drug is extremely toxic, generally three times as toxic as Ecstasy. A few micrograms are enough to make people hallucinate.
After use, the heart rate usually accelerates, blood pressure rises, and acute schizophrenia and strong hallucinations occur, resulting in a great psychological gap. Source: China Anti-drug)
In response to the increasing drug problem, in 1968, then-U.S. President Johnson merged various drug control agencies and established the Narcotic Drugs and Dangerous Drugs Administration (BNDD).
During this period, the most iconic event was in 1971, when then-U.S. President Nixon publicly declared that “drug use is the first public enemy of the United States”, which led to a protracted “drug war”.
But at this time, the Nixon administration’s severe crackdown did not include marijuana, but only the drugs represented by heroin, which are extremely addictive and more harmful. Similar to the causes of the drug flood, what prompted the Nixon administration to take such a decisive judgment on drug control was also a war – the Vietnam War.
In 1971, two congressmen, Robert Steele and Morgan Murphy, issued a report on heroin abuse. In the later history education curriculum in the United States, the publication of the report was called “explosive”.
The report points out that 10% to 15% of American soldiers in Vietnam are addicted to heroin. However, according to historical records, Nixon’s main concern at that time was not that soldiers took drugs in large quantities, but that people believed that the Vietnam War had caused a large number of soldiers to become addicted to drugs, which would affect his political career.
Therefore, Nixon has stressed in public that drug abuse is a social problem in the United States, trying to shift the source of human drug addiction from Vietnam to the mainland of the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health (PMC) of the National Library of Medicine, “Nixon wants the American people to know that most drug-addicted soldiers used drugs before arriving in Vietnam.”
The same as Nixon’s political consideration, which tried to turn the attention of the American people to the social problem of drug flooding, there are also Nixon’s specific measures to control drugs.
Nixon has no other way with him.
In his March 2013 article on the U.S. policy for coping with addiction, Grisha Metley, a researcher at the National Institute of America, documented Nixon’s relevant description of his drug control measures.” Our goal is not necessarily to make drug addicts rehab, but to make drug users a citizen with jobs, compliance and taxes. This passage basically shows that although Nixon put forward the concept of “drug war”, the goal is not to eradicate drugs, but to set aside some space for drugs. As an example of Nixon’s anti-drug policy, the counter-drug goal set by the Special Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP) established at that time was “even if recurrence cannot be completely prevented, such plans are still committed to interrupting the cycle of addiction.”
But both Nixon and the drug abuse prevention department he established, at that time, the federal government’s anti-drug efforts were mostly blocked from the “drug users”, and drug production and drug trafficking were not the main direction of the Nixon administration.
Nixon himself has made a relevant statement on this issue, “We must all be compassionate with drug users, but we have no choice for promoters (and those who benefit from drug production and drug trafficking). According to hindsight statistics, during Nixon’s administration, two-thirds of the funds spent on drug control were used for treatment, research and prevention, and only one third were used to combat the drug trade.
In 1969, the Nixon administration launched an “intercept operation” to try to block marijuana from Mexico to the United States outside the border. Although the Nixon administration took the lead in achieving drug control through foreign policy in the United States, it had little effect.
Due to unrealistic and strict cargo inspection, the operation eventually led to the interruption of traffic on the border between the United States and Mexico, and the work lasted only 20 days.
Under Nixon’s selective anti-drug measures, the number of drug users in the United States is rising. According to a 1979 survey, more than 25 million Americans used illegal drugs in the 30 days before the investigation was launched that year. In addition to Nixon, who hastily stepped down due to the Watergate incident, there are also its successors that contributed to this huge number.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter, who won the Democratic nomination, in order to win the vote in the general election, said that he “repeak federal criminal penalties for owning up to one ounce of cannabis”, by which time many states in the United States had legalized marijuana. Peter Byrne, Carter’s public health adviser at that time, believed that marijuana, or even cocaine, would not pose a public health threat.
Because of Carter’s laissez-faire attitude towards drugs, many American media even hype about drugs, cosmetics, food, etc. containing drug ingredients. In 1977, an American magazine, Newsweek, appeared an induced description of eating cocaine-containing foods:
Demand from the United States has caused Latin America to fall into chaos.
The wrong judgment and indifference of the leadership have promoted the abnormal social atmosphere to promote the United States to become a drug consumer power, and the strong consumer demand naturally led to the emergence of a large number of drug producers and drug traffickers.
Since the end of the 1970s, Latin America has gradually become the main producer of drugs in the United States, and a number of drug production and drug trafficking groups have been born.
And the emergence of organized and large-scale drug cartels undoubtedly makes the drug trade more violent.
Since Carlos Ryder first opened up drug smuggling through small aircraft in 1975, several drug trafficking gangs have erupted violently to compete for markets and drug routes. On the other hand, in order to resist police arrest, drug gangs use the drug money obtained from drug trafficking to buy a large number of guns and exchange fire with the police.
Colombian police seized 600 kilograms of cocaine in a drug control operation in 1975. In response to the police seizure of drugs, drug dealers took revenge, killing more than 40 people in just one weekend. Several drug trafficking gangs have continued to develop after years of violent conflict, integration and confrontation with the police.
Finally, in 1981, several drug trafficking groups jointly formed the Medellin Cartel Drug Trafficking Group, which divided cocaine production, transportation, distribution and other processes, and finally supplied them to the United States market.
In 1982, U.S. law enforcement seized 3,906 pounds (about 1.78 tons) of cocaine from the hangar of Miami International Airport, which was transported into the United States by the Medellin Cartel Group from Latin America.
The one-time seizure of such a large amount of cocaine has made the United States realize that drugs from Latin America have become a difficult problem that requires intervention at the national level. For the United States, the “drug war” has a new meaning from this time – the war against drug production and drug cartels in Latin America.
The “drug war” with interests and the devastated Latin America
According to the British Guardian, in the 1980s, almost all of Latin America provided various drugs to the huge drug market in the United States. Because Latin America’s relatively rich resources and backward industry make a large number of Latin American countries do not have enough labor jobs.
When there is a large demand for drug consumption in the United States, the windfall drug production and drug trafficking industries attract a large number of Latin American nationals struggling on the poverty line.
In the 1980s, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia accounted for 65%, 25% and 10% of the world’s cocaine production, respectively. The huge and neglected drug market of the drug industry and the United States have made the economy of Latin America more deformed.
In the absence of effective control of the strong demand for drugs in the country, the U.S. government has to turn its target to drug production and drug cartels in Central and South America.
In 1989, the United States invaded Panama with the intention of regaining control of the Panama Canal and combating the local drug industry. In order to obtain Panama’s support, the United States used permission to drug trafficking in return for military assistance from Panamanian General Manuel Noriega.
In addition, George Bush, then the director of the CIA, provided Manuel Noriega with an additional reward of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
However, it was this military operation that was full of black gold transactions against Panamanian drug traffickers that eventually led to the killing of a large number of Panamanian civilians, and Panamanian general Manuel Noriega, who was responsible for military assistance, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
George Bush, who planned the deal, became the next president of the United States.
Since the invasion of Panama in 1989, the United States has begun to provide hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military assistance to the governments of several Central and South American countries to help fight against local rebels.
In return, these countries need to provide the United States with the convenience of combating drug trafficking. In consideration of reducing costs, the U.S. Department of Defense has contracted several domestic private enterprises, which are almost all military contractors, modern mercenary groups.
These mercenaries stationed in Central and South America are tasked with training the local national army, and some of them even participate directly in the military operations of the host country.
Reports submitted by several international human rights organizations show that stationed officers trained by mercenaries authorized by the U.S. military have directly or indirectly participated in many anti-human atrocities, including the Trujillo massacre and the Mapiripan massacre.
From July 15 to July 20, 1997, a Colombian armed group came to Mapiripan and massacred the local residents after passing through the anti-drug base established by Colombia and the United States, with extremely cruel means. After the incident, U.S. officials said in 2003 that at least 30 civilians were killed in the massacre.
According to several media reports, many Colombian armed men involved in the massacre have undergone military training provided by the United States.
In addition, in order to efficiently destroy the drug cultivation industry in Central and South America, the United States regularly sprays a large number of toxic herbicides in the jungles of Central and South America.
In fact, this has affected a large number of farmers and local residents unrelated to the drug trade, directly causing agricultural poor harvests and production cuts, and continuously affecting the local ecological environment.
Despite the high-intensity “drug war” launched by the United States against Central and South America, many studies and surveys have proved that the United States’ anti-drug fight against Latin American countries has only exacerbated the “balloon effect” and shifted drug production from one country to another, but the overall production, trafficking and consumption of drugs have hardly changed.
Change. On the contrary, the strong measures of the United States have made the economies of a large number of Central and South American countries more abnormal, while making the entire drug trafficking industry more violent, completely disrupting the original social order of these countries.
The behind-the-scenes pusher of the international drug trade
On February 17, 2017, Ecuador’s Latin American social journal revealed the many American banks buried behind the international drug transaction.
According to the report, the total amount of money being laundering by drug trafficking groups in the global financial system reached about $1.6 trillion, which is equivalent to 2.7% of global GDP.
Of these $1.6 trillion dollars, $580 billion is laundering in the U.S. financial system every year.
Because drug production is full of huge profits, many American banks actually manipulate or even dominate the entire drug industry.
At present, there is evidence that Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank are all involved in drug trafficking transactions of drug and drug trafficking groups.
Not only the Latin American media, as early as November 2015, Bloomberg reported on the relationship between banks in the United States and Latin American drug smuggling.
However, the exposed drug and money laundering transactions are only a small part, and many American banks are still secretly involved in drug production and drug trafficking in Latin America.
Wells Fargo in 2011 took place in one of the largest drug trafficking scandals in the United States and the world.
The bank not only used the account to transfer millions of dollars to Los Cetas, a Mexican drug trafficking group, through the “exchange house” in Mexico, but also manipulated and whitewashed cash to transport 22 tons of cocaine to the United States.
HSBC was fined $1.1 billion for money laundering money through its accounts and secret banks for the Sinaloa drug trafficking group in Guzmamán, Mexico, between 2006 and 2008. In 2012, Citigroup was accused of money laundering for the Los Cetas drug trafficking group through its branch in Mexico (National Bank of Mexico).
Los Cetas transferred nearly $70 million through Citigroup’s account, according to a survey cited by Bloomberg.
In a statement in late 2014 by a head of the FBI in Massachusetts, Citigroup sent tens of millions of dollars from drug trafficking to Colombia to avoid punishment and legal problems.
The increasingly complicated anti-drug process in the United States
As for the United States, the long-term indifference to drug trafficking and insufficient penalties for drug trafficking and drug control have also exacerbated the drug epidemic in the United States.
In 1978, in response to drug trafficking and illegal sale of controlled drugs, the federal government only introduced a bill that “allows law enforcement officials to fine”.
It is the media and a basketball player who really make the federal government adopt a more mandatory anti-drug strategy.
On June 19, 1986, University of Maryland basketball player Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose, just two days after Len Bias was selected by the Boston Celtics with the second overall pick in that year’s draft.
The death of Len Bias was reported by the American media, which temporarily formed great moral and public pressure. Almost all the American media and people expressed dissatisfaction with the anti-drug laws in force at that time.
So, just over three months after Len Bias died of drug overdose, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate and then-President Reagan quickly passed the anti-drug abuse bill.
For drug crimes, the new bill sets the minimum sentencing standard for drug traffickers with 5 grams of low-purity block cocaine to five years without parole, but paradoxically, the same sentencing standard is imposed for drug dealers with 500 grams of high-purity cocaine powder.
Such an indiscriminate minimum sentencing standards eventually led to a large number of low-level drug traffickers involved in drug trafficking, such as street vendors, messengers, etc.
to be sent to prison, while high-level drug traffickers involved in drug production and drug trafficking cannot receive corresponding punishments. However, when the U.S. Congress introduced the law at that time, it claimed that it was aimed at cracking down on “the main drug makers and drug dealers”.
Four years after the bill was introduced, the average drug sentence of African-Americans jumped from 11% higher than that of white Americans to 49%.
The drug problem is further mixed with the problem of race, and the judicial system of the United States has made the fight against drugs more complicated and difficult. With the passage of time, a large number of criminals sentenced to drugs have entered prison. In 1994 alone, more than 1 million Americans were jailed for drugs.
This number rose to 1.5 million in 2008. The increasing number of drug crimes has also raised the cost of drug law enforcement in the United States.
The huge financial pressure on combating drugs and drug abuse has become the core reference for the U.S. government’s anti-drug policy. The coronavirus epidemic has further complicated the drug problem facing the United States.
The mysterious cannabis market and interest temptations in the face of the pandemic
Before the passage of the “possession of a small amount of drugs from criminal punishment” bill in some states, the federal government unified the control of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other addictive and harmful drugs, and adopted relatively severe measures to control them. But for some “soft drugs”, such as marijuana, the U.S. government has long allowed states to have independent legislation, which also set the stage for the chaos in the United States.
In 2020, the world fell into a recession caused by the coronavirus epidemic, and the U.S. economy became weaker and weaker. However, a company that mainly focuses on cannabis business is expanding wildly.
During the pandemic, Curaleaf Holdings, a Massachusetts company that grows, processes and sells cannabis through pharmacies in 18 states, acquired Chicago cannabis growers and retailer Grassroots for $830 million this July.
One investor of the company said that he was “be optimistic about the development of the industry during the epidemic”. The cannabis industry may even become one of the few industries in the United States that can contribute to economic growth during the epidemic.
The National Cannabis Law Reform Organization (NORML) with the core goal of promoting the legalization of cannabis submitted a $14 billion tax payment plan to the U.S. Treasury Department as early as April 2009.
The program aims to generate additional fiscal revenue for the U.S. government by legalizing marijuana and thus taxing marijuana transactions. Although the federal government did not believe it at that time, when the epidemic came, several states independently passed relevant legislation to legalize marijuana.
For state governments, this is ultimately a rare economic growth rate during the epidemic. Although it looks good, when the U.S. government drinks this cup of “thirth quenching water” from the cannabis industry, it is likely to “drink to quench thirst”.
In response to this behavior of the National Organization for the Reform of Cannabis Law, the Capitol Hill referred to the group with “another ‘tea party'” in its article.
Socio-culturalism, bureaucracy, partisanship, and interest groups are all trying to shape America’s attitude and policies towards all kinds of drugs.
Peter Reuters, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, published a paper in 2012, pointing out that the drug flooding and drug abuse problems facing the United States have become a complex society. Sexual issues.
Banning the circulation of drugs through legal means alone will turn the whole industry underground, which in turn will make the drug trade more violent and increase the cost of law enforcement.
However, legalization inevitably makes drug abuse and drug proliferation more difficult to eradicate.