Friday, December 05, 2008

The Repeal of Alcohol Prohibition

Well, 75-years ago today, the 21st amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, ending alcohol prohibition in the United States. That prohibition had been in place for less than 15 years before even a lot of the folks who hated alcohol came to realize that the cost of prohibition--the rise of alcohol cartels, the criminalizing of a huge portion of the population, turf wars, overcrowded prisons, people dying of adulterated booze, the loss of tax revenue--was too high. And it also wasn’t working: from what my folks and grandfolks told me, anyone who wanted alcohol could get any time of day or night in any city in the US.
Sound familiar?
I just got an email from an old friend of mine, Todd McCormick. He’s a guy who had cancer nine times before he was 10-years-old, a guy who has five vertebra fused, making it difficult to move without pain. He is also an outspoken proponent for legal medical marijuana--which he uses to relieve pain rather than prescription opioids--and helped get California’s medical pot bill passed in 1996. He was also the first person busted after that ballot measure became law in a famous case where he was found to be growing pot in a very ugly mansion in Bel Air, California.
Well, Todd did five years federal for that, got out a couple of years ago and for some reason looked me up today. It was good to hear he’s okay--the cancer has not returned. That’s always good news. And he managed to do his 5-year bit without coming out bitter.
On December 5, 1933, reasonable people everywhere agreed--for different reasons--that the prohibition of alcohol was a disastrous social experiment. Pot prohibition is the same. And the prohibition of medical pot, and the incarceration of medical pot users like Todd McCormick, is well past that.
For 75-years people have been having a legal beer after work. Legal beer has produced a lot of grief but less than what was being produced during its prohibition.
Me? I’m going to celebrate with a Jim Beam later today, and toast those who realized that the greater harm was prohibition, not booze.


The Grudge said...

I live in California and the whole legal medical marijuana here has been a mess for a while. The Feds don't care and are too narrow minded in their fruitless "war on drugs." I recently read this piece from

"Voters in Switzerland Sunday gave overwhelming approval to a proposal to make the country's pioneering heroin prescription program legal, but at the same time rejected an initiative that would have legalized and regulated the use and sale of marijuana. The heroin program won with 69% of the vote, while the marijuana initiative got only 37% support."

I need to read up on the whole heroin gets the okay and marijuana doesn't in Switzerland, but I hope that this can work and shine as an example of making drugs legal in a proper way.

Thank Peter.

Sheila said...

Having lost my beautiful husband & my own health, from drinking socially for 30 yrs., its beyond me why our authorities are still dicking around with the Marijuana dispute ? For 19 months now, since losing him, I've been trying to spread the warning, of alcohol caused illness's, only to discover there are many people with either the same or different afflictions from liquor, but are too embarressed to shameful to speak about it.
But I've yet to hear of any medical problems this horrific, from good old 'magga-mahojee' ???
May God help us all !
Sometimes I think its because our Government Leaders all drink like fish, but don't like smoking mj !?!

John said...

Hi Peter,

A very good friend of mine, early 40's, got hit with breast cancer this year. (stage 2B). She has a great chance of beating it and we've got fingers crossed. In something that seems oddly sensible to me, Colorado has granted her the legal right to smoke, and she says it has been making her feel much better after her kemo sessions. So in the middle of unbelievable stupidity can come some forms of reasonableness. It's like "chaotic evil has some shred of good (contaminant), due to entropic contamination" or some such crap. ;) Anyway, I'm glad and surprised she's allowed to light up.

Graccus said...

Just watched the Dennis McKenna You-Tube interviews by Art Bell. Liked Dennis' proposal of suggesting to the prohibition folks that they let us legally keep the natural plant "medicines" and just ban the overly processed "drugs." (My quotes) E.g. coca leaves are ok, but not cocaine. Dennis like Terrence is always worth listening to. After all wasn't he the brother who got totally zonked in True Hallucinations?
....Question for anyone.... if marijuana is legalized, does everyone incarcerated for marijuana violations get released?? How did this work after alcohol prohibition?