Repeal Prohibition, Again


So says the Editorial Board of the New York Times. They’re referring to the prohibition of marijuana.

Before I go any further, let me say that I agree that we ought to decriminalize dope. However, my reasons are not exactly the same as the NYT’s. Oh, I agree that we need to end prohibition of marijuana (and most other recreational drugs) in order to cut off a cash cow for criminals. But another reason is that prohibition (of drugs or booze or handguns or whatever) was one of the signal achievements of early 20th-century Progressivism. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the crime and violence associated with alcohol prohibition brought Americans to their senses in only 13 years.

A hundred years ago, our betters the Progressives sold the country on the idea that because some people couldn’t responsibly handle booze and drugs, that none of us should have access to them. If we just let the smarter, wiser, better educated, more refined elites control us, everything will be just fine.

Yeah, that hasn’t worked for me either.

Exit question: How many members of the NYT Editorial Board smoke dope?

12 thoughts on “Repeal Prohibition, Again

  1. While I don’t personally approve of marijuana use, it does not serve justice to sic the cops on people who feel otherwise. Therefore marijuana should be as legal as alcohol. The prohibition of alcohol caused a sudden surge in organized crime that took decades to undo.

    Just like alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition ensures that the market will be run by criminals. It also ensures that any who get ensnared by the drug trade – regardless of their original intentions or background – must work with criminals and criminal methods. Disputes are often resolved by gang violence, since the justice system pointedly refuses to offer remedies.

    Take away the prohibition, and you take away the illicit income source for a lot of criminals, as law-abiding businessmen can now enter any aspect of the trade on at least even footing. And you remove the criminals’ ability to corrupt law enforcement, or people around them who are not originally hardcore criminals.

  2. And don’t forget that the criminalization of drugs stems from racist attitudes. Can’t have those damn Chinese making a profit from opium now can we? The yellow bastards. Or at least so was the progressive thought process at the time. From there it was a simple cascade effect that we still can’t dig out from under. Smdh

  3. it won’t take a penny out of their hands they will adapt and muscle in on lege business and make even stronger drugs or go into property crimes selling knock off goods – the opium trade eliminated in china gave way to gambling, prostitution, counterfeit goods etc – crime didn’t disappear despite an oppressive regimes horrific efforts to do so and worked into harming people on a much greater scale

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  5. The point I continually make that is often overlooked is simply this, when you have laws that require policemen to hassle people who are hurting no one then you get policemen who like to hassle people who are hurting no one… or at least you get ones who are willing to do so even if they don’t enjoy it. The profession self-selects for the very characteristics which would in a more rational world be disqualifying. And this goes for all of the positions up and down the justice system.

    I think history has shown that it is a much greater and more deadly problem to have a powerful state permeating society than to have powerful intoxicants easily available. And it certainly is hypocritical to outlaw those intoxicants when one considers that power is the greatest intoxicant of all.

    I don’t indulge in anything harder than Dr Pepper myself (and Lord knows they are coming for it too — but they can pry the last bottle out of my pasty, grey hand when they do). I haven’t tried anything but a sip of alcohol I snuck from a parent’s wine glass on my 16th birthday. But I would never think I had the right to decide what others indulge in. That would be madness. It isn’t that all substances are harmless, far from it. But it is that allowing the government to make decisions for people is far, far more harmful because of the precedents it sets, the people it attracts and the society it creates than allowing a few people to create habits they can’t kick. If you look at the most rampant civil rights abuses from spying, to asset forfeiture, to the militarization of the police force, they all had their start in the drug wars.

    About the only exception I would make would be for drugs like antibiotics where widespread and promiscuous use leads to them becoming ineffective. I think there you could make a case that there should be some limitations and there may be a legitimate role for government to play if the drug manufacturers themselves couldn’t get enough safeguards in place to assure their profit stream by not allowing their drugs to become useless. They have a strong incentive to make sure their products remain effective. But any other sort of drug should be free game with appropriate warnings attached.

  6. Pingback: Interesting Prohibition Post at Hogewash! | Helm's Deep

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