top of page

July 1, 1973 - The Drug Enforcement Administration is Established

This Day in Cannabis History:

After declaring his "all-out global war on the drug menace” in 1971, President Richard Nixon began taking steps to build the army he'd need to fight that war.

At that time, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), operating under the Department of Justice, was primarily responsible for enforcing the federal drug laws. However, there were several other agencies—such as the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence, Narcotics Advance Research Management Team, and certain offices within the U.S. Customs Service—who also dealt with aspects of drug enforcement, and they were not communicating and cooperating efficiently enough.

So the Nixon Administration put together a plan that would eliminate all of the bureaucratic red tape and rivalries between various government agencies dealing with drug control-related activities by consolidating them all under one new, overarching super-agency. The plan also proposed improving this new agency's intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities by bringing in the FBI to assist and train them.

In the spring of 1973, Nixon submitted his Reorganization Plan No. 2 (as it was called) to Congress for their consideration, and after months of hearings in both the House of Rep­resentatives and Senate— during which they heard testimony from numerous law enforcement officers and experts—the plan was approved and set in motion.

It was on July 1, 1973, that Nixon officially established his new super-agency, which he called the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA—thus creating the army he'd needed to fight his War on Drugs.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page