Oliver Stone’s War on the War on Drugs

WSJ Team July 10, 2012 0

The Controversial Director Discusses the War on Drugs in the August Issue of High Times

Oliver Stone has had a varied directorial career; for every Natural Born Killers and Platoon fan, there’s another person out there that’s still scratching their heads trying to figure out why they sat through 125 minutes of U Turn. But one thing that’s not debatable: the controversial director has never had a problem speaking his mind against our nation’s biased drug policies.

A longtime critic of the war on drugs, Stone sat down with Jimmy Fallon last week to discuss his new film Savages when the conversation turned to his recent role as cover model in the August issue of High Times. Stone told Fallon:

I love that magazine and they’ve been doing it for years and they’ve stood for something … There is a crazy war on drugs in this country that’s kind of a farce. It hasn’t worked. It’s really a war for money.

In the High Times issue, Stone discusses his latest film, the superiority of American grown marijuana, and how his own personal war against the war on drugs first began when he returned from serving our country in Vietnam:

“Seven or eight days after I got back from Vietnam in December ’68 I was busted at the Mexican border carrying some Vietnamese pot back to the U.S. I was facing Federal smuggling charges, a 5-20 year sentence. I was put in jail… which had a capacity of 2,000, maybe 2,500, but had 5,000 kids inside—all young, most of them for drugs—and that was when I heard this term used. ‘There’s this new thing coming…’ you know. ‘The war on drugs’… [Nixon] kept pushing the moral majority and law and order…and pot became a dangerous ‘drug’… when Nixon… was removed from office after Watergate, it felt again like there would be a new liberalism, but that was stunted by the failure of the Carter presidency…

With Carter there was such a sense of liberation. I remember that feeling of anticipation, but it never happened. The country never went that way, it went back to its Cold War roots with Reagan, who cracked down on drugs, and everything was given to greed, privatization and to making money and to saying ‘no to drugs.’ It became a full-scale war and has grown into what is today, essentially, close to a police state.”

The August 2012 issue of High Times featuring Oliver Stone is now on newsstands; you can view a short video of highlights from their interview session on High Times’ website and read an excerpt from the interview on Oliver Stone’s website.

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