The Drug War Misperception: Criminalizing Our Citizens

President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call from the Oval Office

Monday, June 8, 2009

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Original source:


What if











The original photo of Obama proposes a professional shot of the President of the United States working hard for his country. Although he appears laid back, with his feet propped up on his desk in the Oval Office, his face is serious and the mood of the photo still feels sophisticated. I manipulated the photo to incorporate the true fact about Obama’s prior use of marijuana. I photo shopped a joint into his right hand, and added smoke in the background, so it looks like Obama is currently smoking a joint in the Oval Office. The purpose of this change was to point out the miscued misperception of drug use in the U.S. There is a stigma that all drug users are dangerous addicts who often engage in criminal activity to supply their habits.

The American Civil Liberties Union found in a 2013 report that, between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent of marijuana arrests were for possession, as opposed to intent to distribute. These arrests accounted for 46 percent of all drug arrests in the United States at that time. A 3,500% increase in spending on fighting drugs between 1970 and 2011 had no affect on daily use of marijuana, heroin, or any type of cocaine. The war on drugs imprisons many non-violent American citizens who pose no threat to society. The purpose of this photo manipulation was to invoke the question: what if Obama had been arrested like the other ¾ black men in D.C. or 31 million since the Drug War began? I photoshopped prison bars over the photo as well, and their transparency is supposed to represent the hypothetical bars that could have locked up our former President of the United States.





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