Jon Wiener: Art Linkletter and Richard Nixon: Alcohol vs. Pot

Roundup: Talking About History

[Jon Wiener teaches US history at UC Irvine.]

Art Linkletter, who died May 26 at 97, was important not only for getting little kids to say the darndest things, but also as a crusader against the counterculture of the 1960s, and especially against drugs. Nixon appointed him an adviser on drug policy, and on May 8, 1971, Linkletter went to the White House and met with the president.

The transcripts show Linkletter telling Nixon, “There's a great difference between alcohol and marijuana."

Nixon replies: “What is it?” The president wants to know!

“When people smoke marijuana,” Linkletter explains, “they smoke it to get high. In every case, when most people drink, they drink to be sociable.”

“That's right, that's right,” Nixon says. “A person does not drink to get drunk. . . . A person drinks to have fun."...

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