Paul spoke out against the racial biases present in U.S. drug laws. “I think drugs are a scourge. I think we’ve maybe gone too far and that marijuana is a problem,” Paul said. “And yet I also think it’s a problem to lock people up for 10 and 15 and 20 years for youthful mistakes.”The history of the origin of laws against marijuana show their explicitly racist origins.
The truth is that our perceptions of marijuana—and in fact all of our drug laws—are based on early 20th century racism and “science” circa the Jim Crow era. In the early decades of the 20th century, the drug was linked to Mexican immigrants and black jazzmen, who were seen as potentially dangerous.
Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (an early predecessor of the DEA), was one of the driving forces behind pot prohibition. He pushed it for explicitly racist reasons, saying, “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men,” and:
"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."Good for Rand Paul for taking this on. Now if Republicans would get serious about supporting charter schools and vouchers as well, they might make inroads with black and Hispanics.