Activists arose everywhere. Despite harassment and ridicule, they persevered. Eventually national figures, such as Allen St. Pierre of NORML and Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, began to lay the groundwork for the present.
Meanwhile, self perpetuating bureaucracies, the vested interests of police, courts and jailers, and ordinary political inertia, continued the expansion of arrests. By the time of the Clinton Administration, it was nearly one million per year.
Stepping aside from the white middle class victims, it was among minorities that the crusade against marijuana users was most terrible. With criminal records crippling employability, every black community has been held back by prohibition.
Race was always a factor. After all, Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner, Harry Anslinger, the point man for the prohibition effort in 1937, argued that marijuana needed to be outlawed because it “makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
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