Racism's Hidden History in the War on Drugs

Judge Frederic Block, Federal judge
The Huffington Post (US web)
Wednesday, January 3, 2013

reefer-madnessThe first anti-drug law in the US was a local law in San Francisco passed in 1875, outlawing the smoking of opium and directed at the Chinese. Marijuana prohibition also had racist underpinnings. This time it was the Mexicans. Just as cocaine was associated with black violence and opium with Chines white slavery, in the southwest border towns of the US marijuana was viewed -- beginning in the early 1920s -- as a cause of Mexican lawlessness.