With the recent release of a statement by John Ehrlichman about the true targets of Nixon’s War on Drugs, Koch’s assertion has never been more clear. As Ehrlichman said, “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black [people], but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
These unjust arrests continue to present — 45 years after the dawn of the War on Drugs. People of color are disproportionately arrested for what is often very small amounts of marijuana, and even in states where marijuana has been legalized, many continue to serve sentences for something that is no longer a crime. And if you are rich, why you can get a great lawyer and things will likely go very differently for you.
In the words of ultra-conservative Koch, “where is the justice in that?”