Blogs > Liberty and Power > Is History Repeating Itself?

Aug 15, 2009 3:44 pm

Is History Repeating Itself?

In the 1920s, the decade after alcohol prohibition passed, dissatisfaction with the policy grew at a tremendous rate. As the violence became widespread the ranks of politically wet groups swelled while membership in dry groups declined substantially. Yet it was not until the economic collapse of the Great Depression that repeal of Prohibition became a concrete possibility. In his book Repealing National Prohibition historian David Kyvig writes that the ”growing malaise of the Great Depression introduced new political and social as well as economic circumstances, greatly accelerating the revolt against prohibition and causing the prospect of repeal to be taken seriously for the first time.”

Perhaps in a way history is repeating itself, as new polls show an increased support for the legalization of marijuana. An essay in The Christian Science Monitor reports that a poll conducted last week by Zogby International shows a nationwide majority support for legal pot, 52%, for the first time ever. This is up from an ABC News/Washington Post survey conducted last month which revealed 46% in favor of marijuana decriminalization. In addition, a recent poll of California voters had 56% of the respondents favoring taxation and regulation of legal cannabis. The article asserts that NORML deputy director Paul Armentano ”traces the changing stance to three developments: the economic downturn, which is forcing people to consider new sources of revenue; the violent Mexican drug war, which he says many Americans see as the result of prohibition of the drug trade and not directly linked to personal usage; and lastly, more experience with the drug.”

Cross posted on The Trebach Report

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mary lili jory - 8/16/2009

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Anthony Gregory - 5/12/2009

Furthermore, if the taxes get too high, a black market will still exist, pushing prices downward, but the enforcement mechanism to interfere with that black market will have been enervated.

Alcohol is obscenely taxed and regulated, but returning to the 1920s would not be an improvement.

Anthony St. James - 5/11/2009

This discussion is long overdue. Marijuana is a no brainer, legalize it. It's the only intelligible thing to do. However, once people start seeing how idiotic the prohibition of marijuana was, they are going to relate it to our entire war on drugs. Alcohol is the poison, far more dangerous than any other drug. Let's be a nation that is consistent with our views. It makes us seem like a bunch of idiots every time we contradict ourselves. Change please!

Keith Halderman - 5/11/2009

If we could see enforcement of marijuana laws just fade away without any legalization or any taxes no one would be more pleased than me. But, I do not see that happening too many people are making too much money by throwing people in jail for smoking pot. There has to be a change in the law and the trade off will be taxes.

Anthony Gregory - 5/11/2009

It's no different. All taxes are pure evil. But that's not the point. The point is prohibition is even far worse.

Those who object to legalizing drugs because it would mean they'd be taxed should consider this thought experiment: Would you be no more bothered than you are now if all food were made illegal, the way marijuana is, so long as food was no longer taxed?

Big-L Libertarian - 5/11/2009

Keith, I suppose paying a MJ tax is slightly better than having your door kicked in at 2am, having your home ransacked, your stuff seized, and/or being thrown into an anal rape camp, but how is this ANY different, in ANY way, from paying the Mafia "protection money" every week or month, so that "nothing happens" to your small business?

Keith Halderman - 5/10/2009

They are not going to legalize with out taxation and paying a tax is better than getting shot in the chest when the police break down your door, getting analy raped in prison, or losing your children.

William Marina - 5/10/2009

Geez Keith,
Legalize all the stuff, and tax us? Ugh!
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