Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Marijuana Legalization Paralleling Post Prohibition Issues

I found an interesting article of how the new problems created by the legalization of marijuana are ending up paralleling the problems of post prohibition era in the 1930"s.  This is  a very good read.

By the time Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president of the United States in 1932, the Great Depression had been underway for three years—and Prohibition had gone on for what the literary critic and crank H.L. Mencken quite accurately described as nearly "Thirteen Awful Years." A quarter of the American workforce was unemployed. FDR had run on Repeal, proposing a win-win solution: The federal government would allow states to reopen the breweries and distilleries to create much-needed jobs, then heavily tax the alcohol to pay for what would become the New Deal.

Prohibition, which started as a "noble experiment" in 1920, ended up rolling out the red carpet for organized crime. Violence wracked cities as criminal syndicates fought over territory while the police force, politicians, and Prohibition Bureau agents were bribed to look the other way. Citizens widely disregarded the law of the land, and even congressmen employed their own bootleggers, despite the fact that most voted "dry."

The 18th Amendment had made the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol illegal. It wasn't illegal to possess alcohol—the powerful Anti-Saloon League understood that people would rebel if they couldn't drink the stocks of booze they already had at home. Instead, drys naively believed that people would finish off what was in their liquor cabinets and then simply stop drinking.

Prohibition didn't snuff out the liquor traffic as planned; instead, it merely deprived buyers and sellers of recourse in the courts when sales went sour. Bootleggers met the American public's undiminished demand for drink with a robust but unpredictable supply. Consumers had no dependable idea what they were buying, often winding up with rotgut industrial alcohol repurposed as "gin"—topped off with water in the bathtub, hence the term bathtub gin—or "Scotch," the same brew blended with some food coloring and iodine.

So Americans were sick (sometimes literally) of Prohibition. But the logistics for repeal were tricky: If Prohibition ended, how should the country control and regulate alcohol? With so much money at stake, and with a robust black market currently controlling sales, it wasn't going to be easy to create a new legal regime.

John D. Rockefeller Jr., a teetotaling Baptist and the richest man in the country, turned his back on Prohibition in a June 6, 1932, letter to his friend, Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler. The letter was printed on the front page of The New York Times the next day.


This is one of the best researched articles that I have ever run across on the subject of "post prohibition era" and the problems that the US had to face to control alcohol and get the criminal element out of the picture.  ;o)

1 comment:

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