It’s been 50 years since President Nixon declared a War on Drugs. Since then, this nebulous declaration has affected policy, legislation, and other facets of American life while contributing to rising incarceration rates. The War on Drugs has also crossed borders, helping to destabilize entire regions of the world.
In particular, drugs, especially cannabis, have been weaponized against Black and Brown communities, who suffer the highest rates of incarceration and criminalization compared with white people who also interact with the same substances.
A three-part documentary series called The Human Toll was released on March 12. The series, produced by Vanity Fair with PAX Labs, delves into how U.S. drug policy — and, specifically, cannabis prohibition — over the last century has been a driver of racial inequality, unjust incarceration, and devastating harm to communities and people of color.
In part one, leaders from the Last Prisoner Project, Marijuana Policy Project, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and Brookings Institution uncover the racist origins of the War on Drugs and explain how these dangerous policies, dating as far back as the early 1900s, have shaped the carceral system to this day. Part two discusses collateral consequences, and part three is titled “Getting Out.” The remaining two parts will be released on March 26.
“As a brand in cannabis, we’re deeply committed to driving awareness around the racial injustice of the War on Drugs, so it was great to work with Vanity Fair and the featured advocates to give voice to those impacted and bring these stories to life,” said Laura Fogelman, Senior Director of Communications & Public Affairs at PAX Labs.
Published: March 12, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News