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A Remarkable Mid-1980s Counter-Culture Pairing

Interesting pair of graphic images, printed back to back, addressing two of the major social issues of the mid-1980s, de-criminalization of Marijuana and the Punk Rock movement's protest against Reaganism and the criminalization and villification music lyrics during the first term of President Ronald Reagan.

The front image promotes the May 7, 1983 World Cannabis March on the United Nations, sponsored by 5th Avenue Pot Parade Coalition. This event seems to have been held in 1983 and again in 1985, protesting against the United Nations' 1961 Single Convention On Narcotic Drugs and US Drug Enforcement Policy.

On the verso is an image noting a Rock Against Reagan Tour.  The main band associated with this tour was the Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains, but other entertainers such as Whoopi Goldberg, performed.  Legendary Foo Fighters drummer Dave Grohl gave an account of his attendance at a “Rock Against Reagan”  concert held in Washington D.C. on the mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial, noting “there were police on horses with f***ing batons . . . It was nuts. I’d get beaten by police and rednecks. But it was the right place and the right time for that, under Reagan’s suffocating conservative administration.”

United Nations' 1961 Single Convention On Narcotic Drugs

In 1961, the U.N. enacted a Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which placed Cannabis and Cannabis resin on Schedule IV, , the most tightly restricted category, reserved for drugs that are "particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects" and whose "liability is not offset by substantial therapeutic advantages."  Its initial placement in this category was not based on science, and no international scientific assessment had been undertaken until 2018.

In 2021, cannabis and cannabis resin were finally removed from Schedule IV.  entered into force in 2021.  Since 2021, cannabis and cannabis resin remain listed in Schedule I of the Single Convention, alongside extracts and tinctures of cannabis.  Schedule I includes substances that are highly addictive and highly liable to substance use disorders, or that are convertible into controlled drugs, while Schedule IV lists "certain drugs listed in Schedule I that are highly addictive and highly liable to abuse and rarely used in medical practice." Schedule IV is a "stricter subset of schedule I, that specifies extra control measures." 

Rock Against Reagan

Rock Against Reagan was an offshoot of Rock Against Racism and included a tour led by the band the Dead Kennedys in 1983-1984.   

Rock Against Regan was a subset of the punk rock culture of the early 1980s.  Much of the political rebellion element of the American punk movement during the 1980s was aimed at president Ronald Reagan and the culture that he symbolized. Reaganism was described as "a culture of individualism, greed, power, and symbols."

The “Rock Against Reagan” tour was a part of the political activism within punk sub-culture that opposed Reagan’s bid for a second presidential term, fueled by its opposition to music censorship and the charges of “distributing harmful matter to a minor” which which would later be made against the Dead Kennedys’ 1985 Frankenchrist album.

Ironically, the angst was not simply directed at the political right -- the anti-rock and roll lyrics movement was a bipartisan phenomenon.  Tipper Gore, wife of future Vice President Al Gore, and Susan Baker, wife of Secretary of the Treasury, James A. Baker, organized and led Parent’s Music Resource Center (PMRC), which blamed "society’s woes―drugs, sex, violence, and teenage suicide and pregnancy" on the “pornographic contents of some rock records.”


We have been unable to locate any other examples of this broadsheet.

Condition Description
Printed on both sides.
Jonathan Kyle Williams: "Rock Against Reagan "Rock Against Reagan": The punk movement, cultural hegemony al hegemony, and Reaganism in the eighties. 2016 Dissertation:
Dave Grohl Interview: