Prohibition is a Flop

“Prohibition is an awful flop.
We like it.
It can’t stop what its meant to stop.
We like it.
It’s left a trail of graft and slime,
It didn’t prohibit worth a dime,
It’s filled our land with vice and crime,
Nevertheless we’re for it.”

This was written in the New York World in 1931.  It was in reference to alcohol prohibition, but the drug war we face is so similar it’s eerie!  Why are WE facing such graft and slime? Why do WE have vice and crime?  Of course it’s prohibition!

For the 10 odd years alcohol was prohibited, gang warfare and crime rose dramatically.  Alcohol distilled improperly was making people sick and even go blind.  Good law abiding citizens were forced to get their dinner wine and christmas scotch from bootleggers that operated back door shops.  Sales of unregulated alcohol went directly to fueling the gangs that supplied and protected the bootleggers, and with that came the guns and organized crime.  Because of the nature of alcohol, it didn’t take long for the public to realize that prohibiting it in the first place not only didn’t solve the problem, it made it way worse!  Better to legalize and regulate it.

Alcohol didn’t become legalized by a bunch of partying alcoholics, it was put in force by respectable people, businesses and politicians who listened to the requests of the people.  People who may or may not even drink.  So neither will cannbis be legalized by a bunch of partying potheads.  It will be legalized by respectable people, businesses and politicians who listen to the requests of the people.

Cannabis wasn’t outlawed for the same reasons as alcohol.  But the prohibition argument is the same.  If you look very carefully at history, it always seems prohibition precedes the problems, or at least elevates them. And technically outlawing cannabis was breaching the constitution itself, that’s why in 1937 the US gov’t had to invent a tax stamp for marijuana production.  By never issuing any they effectively made it outlawed, killing the hemp industry at the same time.  Lobbyists and proponents were not given ear, one doctor after testifying that there ‘s no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug, was told by a congressman, ” Doctor, if you can’t say something good about what we’re doing here, then go home.”  These sorts of biased politics and comments would not be able to happen today.  Especially those made by Harry Anslinger, the man responsible for forming the DEA. One of his comments was, “Marijuana makes black men look at a woman twice, and step on men’s shadows”. Or how about, “Marijuana causes insanity, criminality and death.” ???  And somehow Canada and the rest of the world listened to them.

The government has been debating legalization for so long now it makes me wonder why.  It’s not like they are unaware of the industry.  The businesses are flourishing, the gov’t accepts tax from them, and occassionally brings legalization up in house of commons.  Health Canada created the MMAR program for the ill, and sells cannabis to them.  They’ve altered laws so the consumers don’t get jail time, yet pass laws to go harder on our farmers and distributors (they call them grow-ops and dealers).  Its a bit of a mixed message, and its no wonder our politicians, police and people are confused.  I suspect the delay is not in legalizing itself, but who gets the money.  However, we can’t wait for the power game to decide this, full legalization needs to happen now.

So just like alcohol wasn’t legalized by alcoholics, neither will cannabis be legalized by a bunch of potheads.  We need to convince people who are not everyday cannabis consumers to see this crucial point and use their voting power to make change.  People who are professionals and homemakers, teachers and community workers, law enforcers and judges, business owners and home owners, the nimby neighbour and the average Joe down the street.  People just tired of it all, and are intelligent enough to see the violence in the streets is caused by prohibition – not the drugs, and definately NOT cannabis, that argument’s old now.

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