Prohibition. Lessons Learned, Forgotten, and Ignored

What Do They Expect

The following news story is about a marijuana deal gone bad.  It is about murder, aggravated assault and dealing marijuana.  It is also a statement about Prohibition and one of the many problems Prohibition causes.

http://www.georgianewsday.com/news/407100-5-arrested-in-connection-to-fatal-shooting-in-gwinnett-county.html

The 18th and the 21st Amendments

Apparently, we didn’t learn a damned thing with the 18th and 21st Amendments.  If we did, that knowledge seems to have been forgotten or is being deliberately ignored.  As a result, we are right back where we were between 1920 and 1933.

The 18th Amendment created “The Mob”.  That’s an undeniable fact.  While the do-gooders thought the Prohibition of Alcohol would cure what they perceived as a social evil, what it in fact did was create the cancer of the Black Market in Alcohol.  During this time, murders and thefts were common occurrences between rival gangs.   It took 13 years of lawlessness for the Country to wake up, realize you can’t legislate what one consumes, and repeal Prohibition.  In the process, Prohibition cost the Federal Government a total of $11 billion in lost tax revenue, while costing over $300 million to enforce.  One key piece of information to remember here:  The 18th Amendment prohibited the “manufacture, sale and transportation” of intoxicating beverages, it did not outlaw the possession or consumption of alcohol.

The War on Cannabis

I said we didn’t learn a damned thing with the 18th and 21st Amendments.  That’s not entirely true.  It appears that one of the lessons Government did learn (and acted on) was to criminalize the possession and consumption of cannabis, in stark contrast to the laws during the 1920s.  This, in effect, made it a War on People as well as a war on a “substance”.  So not only has this madness cost the nation tax dollars (see Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) and enforcement costs, just as Alcohol Prohibition did, but we are now also jailing consumers.  Oh, and let’s not forget the huge Black Market that the War on Cannabis created, just as the 18th Amendment did.

John Ehrlichmann, the Nixon Watergate Scandal co-conspirator, said in a 1994 interview with Harper’s Magazine, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people.  You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.  We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”

Consider that statement in light of some of Harry Anslinger’s colorful (pun intended) quotes.  Anslinger was the original demonizer of “marijuana” in his position as the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

–“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

— “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

— “Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers.”

— “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

So here we have a “War”, based on bigotry, lies, and political maneuvering that is costing the Country billions of dollars in enforcement costs and tax revenue and which, once again, has led to lawlessness.

Stop The Insanity

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results“.

He also said of Alcohol Prohibition, “The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.”

These words ring just as true today as they did when he uttered them many years ago.  It is time to stop the insanity.  It is time for Federal and State Governments to realize they are only draining the fiscal and human resources of this Nation as they proceed hell bent in the enforcement of cannabis laws.

About Author

Tom McCain is a retired Air Force Veteran and retired Georgia Peace Officer. He retired from law enforcement as the Chief Deputy of Johnson County. Tom actively advocates for the reform of Georgia's Criminal Justice System and its Draconic marijuana laws. On 4/17/2017 he was named the Executive Director of Peachtree NORML.

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