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Cannabis policy of the Lyndon B. Johnson administration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

During the administration of American President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–1969), the government made moves to reconsider cannabis law enforcement in the nation, including a more treatment-based approach to drug use. However, Johnson was saddled with controversies regarding the Vietnam War and internal national tensions, and was not able to make major changes to cannabis policy before declining to run for a second term in 1968.[1]:47–48 During the Johnson administration, cannabis usage was an issue of concern both in the youth counterculture as well as among American troops serving in the Vietnam War.[1]:46

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Federal Bureau of Narcotics chief Harry Anslinger, a strong opponent of cannabis since the 1930s, left office in 1963, setting the scene for potential evolution of the national cannabis policy.[1]:47

In 1966, the Johnson administration passed the Narcotics Addict Rehabilitation Act, treating drug abuse as a medical issue similar to alcoholism.[2] Johnson's 1967 President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice concluded that the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was ineffective, and over-broad in lumping cannabis use in with the more dangerous use of opiates.[3] Johnson himself considered the possibility of easing cannabis regulations by removing the mandatory minimum sentencing for cannabis possession.[4]

Throughout Johnson's administration, cannabis use rose sharply, with arrests increasing from 18,815 in 1965 to 61,843 in 1967.[5] In response to the increasing usage of cannabis and other drugs, in 1968 Johnson placed the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (Treasury) and the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (Food and Drug Administration) under the control of the Department of Justice, consolidating them as the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.[6]


  1. ^ a b c John Hudak (25 October 2016). Marijuana: A Short History. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-2907-5.
  2. ^ Kyle Farmbry (6 August 2014). The War on Poverty: A Retrospective. Lexington Books. pp. 93–. ISBN 978-0-7391-9079-1.
  3. ^ Andrew E. Slaby; Lawrence Tancredi (1983). Collusion for Conformity. J. Aronson. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0-87668-709-3.
  4. ^ Nancy E. Marion (1994). A History of Federal Crime Control Initiatives, 1960-1993. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-0-275-94649-4.
  5. ^ Emily Dufton (5 December 2017). Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America. Basic Books. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-0-465-09617-6.
  6. ^ United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency (1975). Marijuana Decriminalization: Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, First Session ... May 14, 1975. U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 487–.
This page was last edited on 18 April 2021, at 11:22
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