November 16, 2012
Throughout the Cold War the prevailing fear of United States government was the domino effect. Simply put, if even one country fell to communism, it could start a chain reaction that would quickly consume the remainder of the free world in a totalitarian dragnet. This led to a doctrine of containment, wherein the U.S. government would intervene in virtually any country, by any means necessary, to prevent the transition to a communist system. There were full-scale wars in Korea and Vietnam, coups in Guatemala, Iran, and the Republic of Congo, and a host of other clandestine operations meant to undermine Soviet influence around the world.
In much the same way, the U.S. government has been engaging in a doctrine of containment – or at least they’ve been trying – for the better part of four decades regarding the drugs. They’ve militarized state and local police forces, launched full-scale military operations, and employed the U.S. Coast Guard to combat drugs. They capture drug dealers in sting operations, prosecute young and old alike, and have jailed millions of non-violent individuals, all in an effort to stamp out freedom of choice and rights to private property.
The first indicator that some of the dominos were going to fall happened during the 1990s, when people began buying and selling marijuana for medicinal use. Starting with California in 1996, a number of states even partially decriminalized the banned plant when they realized that containment would be ineffective. Over the course of the next decade eighteen states and the District of Columbia passed legislation that meant medical marijuana users would be left alone. That is to say the state governments wouldn’t harass users, but the Feds kept up the pressure, and continued with their futile attempt to control that sector of the economy.