America’s Upcoming Prohibition Primer: A Call For ‘Pot Parlor Parties’ Nationwide

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director August 7, 2011

    Mark your calendar and make plans for ‘pot parlor parties’ with your like-minded family, friends and co-workers on October 2 to view the first in a series of PBS broadcasts from legendary filmmaker Ken Burns on the history (and total folly) of Alcohol Prohibition.

    The upcoming broadcast of Prohibition may possibly present the best opportunity ever for America’s mainstream population to come to understand 1) the failure of government prohibitions in free market-oriented societies on otherwise safe and popular commercial products, 2) the dynamic of ‘tolerant’ and otherwise law-abiding peoples trying to be dominated and made into criminals by ‘intolerant’ people (i.e., wets vs. drys), 3) how much worse and profound 74 years of Cannabis Prohibition has become in America (as compared to Alcohol Prohibition’s relatively short dozen years) and 4) the recognition of need to immediately end today’s totally failed and feckless Cannabis Prohibition (replaced with a state-based system of regulation and control in a manner similar to today’s alcohol laws and social controls).

    The broadcast of the first episode of Prohibition is scheduled for Sunday, October 2 and NORML and its 170 chapters around the country are encouraging citizens who oppose Cannabis Prohibition to convene viewing parties in their homes to be known as pot parlor parties as means to educate ourselves better about what is often called today America’s Great Failed Experiment and to keep building up a fast growing community of activist-citizens who’re calling for logical alternatives to our antiquated Cannabis Prohibition laws.

    Contact your local NORML chapter to help coordinate pot parlor parties in your area.

    BTW…maybe it was planned…maybe it is a coincidence…but October 2 also happens to be the official 74th anniversary of the day Cannabis Prohibition laws went into full effect.

    What better way to mark such a dark day in American history than to organize for the necessary cannabis law reforms today greatly aided with much needed and objective light from our past?

    When watching Burns’s Prohibition, please keep in mind the stark differences between the relative benignness of alcohol’s prohibition as compared to today’s far-reaching and extreme blanket prohibition on cannabis:

    *Alcohol Prohibition came about after nearly 100 years of social agitation from citizens who effectively advocated for a constitutional amendment to be passed to ban the commerce of alcohol sales (citizens could make their own alcohol products, but they could not sell it lawfully as the government ceased regulating and taxing the commerce). Of course, a little more than a decade after the anti-alcohol amendment, to lawfully end the Prohibition, congress and the states had to pass another amendment to the Constitution allowing states the ability to again regulate and tax alcohol-related commerce.

    Is there a constitutional amendment to ban cannabis?

    No. Cannabis Prohibition in America was created by legislative fiat.

    *During Alcohol Prohibition, hundreds of thousands of citizens were able to continue to use alcohol for ‘therapeutic’ reasons by obtaining a doctor’s recommendation and a license from the federal government. Of course, during our long suffering Cannabis Prohibition, the federal government continues to spuriously claim cannabis has no medical value and treats patients (even with a physician’s recommendation to use medical cannabis) like common criminals.

    *Nearly fifty percent of the working population in America are subject to anti-cannabis drug tests in the workplace.

    *Every 35 seconds a cannabis consumer, seller or grower is arrested in America (approx. 850,000 arrests annually).

    *Today, there are dozens of ‘sacred cow’ federal and state anti-cannabis bureaucracies (DEA, ONDCP, Customs, NIDA, SAMSHA, DARE, PDFA, NDIC, EPIC; federal, state and local law enforcement entities, etc….)

    With nearly one million people having opted into NORML’s network of cannabis law reform via Facebook, Causes, Twitter and our internal listservs, the upcoming Ken Burns documentary is a fortuitous opportunity for today’s cannabis consumers and reformers to organize around.

    PBS has created a well done online ‘postcard’ that allows you to remind friends, family, and maybe most importantly, our elected officials to watch and learn.

    More to come soon about NORML’s October 2nd Pot Parlor Parties…

    50 responses to “America’s Upcoming Prohibition Primer: A Call For ‘Pot Parlor Parties’ Nationwide”

    1. As a means of stemming the budget crisis & raising the debt ceiling, Congress & the White House proposed cuts in Medicare, Social Security, foreign aid, military budgets in Iraq & Afghanistan, public education and other social services.

      Not a soul suggested we take a dime from the Drug War budget.

      Reefer madness!

    2. rob dizzle says:

      Looks great!

      Problem… PBS? Fuck man barely anybody watches that channel. Shit is like NPR’s brother and just as boring at times.

      [Editor’s note: What other national broadcast network other than PBS would run a series consisting of three one-hour documentaries on three consecutive nights on any subject matter let alone a history of Alcohol Prohibition?*

      ABC (Disney)? NBC (Comcast/GE)? CBS (Viacom)? CNN (Time Warner)? Fox (News Corp.)?

      *Every summer in the middle of beach season Discovery Channel airs a regular series called ‘Shark Week’, but, what does that really say about network TV?]

    3. RG says:

      Where is the filing of the class action lawsuit for unlawful biological warfare against the citizens of North American and now the world.

      However — still no concrete actions are on the table that say — where you born after 1940 — Did you breast feed — are you a sexually active human — food of birth/forest/sex is reason to believe you have been exposed to the bioweapon known as Lyme disease.

      Now if all parties focus on remedy — initiate class action lawsuits — use the media circle from all the infomercials and court coverages to expose the circumstance which is completely denied by the aggressors in charge — we will be on the path to recovery.

      From my perspective — self greed of futures keeps everyone in the business from performing necessary collective actions for an intelligent resolve.


      Time to use the philanthropic monies of the world and lets get the claim action moving.

    4. Ll says:

      I wonder if anyone who watches this show will realize that prohibition didn’t actually disappear with the 21st Amendment.


      I don’t suppose Ken Burns will refer to reefer?

    5. The American Genesist says:

      “People will break the law – when it’s a stupid law.” Well! there’s a whole bunch of law breakers out there – and – in there too.

    6. TH says:

      We favoring legalization have to make an ever stronger distinction betweeen pot and hard stuff. We should be strong supporters of the DEA taking down boat loads of coke, we should be supportive of local crack stings, and we should be supportive of tough pot DUI laws. This will disarm the right and aid our cause.

    7. Jef says:

      Go Ken!!!
      Isnt it funny as PBS is hailed as one of the great educational channels. They have never caved to cheesy commercials and have always had a great sense of sophistication! The Civil war was watched by lots of people. Lets hope this one gets even more veiws. Hopefully the morons ruining our country will learn something. Things now are a photo copy of the alcohol prohibition with gangs and innocent people getting hurt or arrested by over zealous cops brown nosing there superiors so they can get funds to rape the citizens yr after yr! Man the money we could save, the people wouldnt have all the criminal records hanging over them all there lives etc…. God bless America but I CANNOT say God bless our congress although Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, and a few more are in my Thoughts. There are a few good guys on the siide of common sense and decensy! Let Roll america and smoke legal!

    8. Buggsy13420666 says:

      The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has no value to me to tell me just to use Federal Death Authority approved drugs that are killing and maiming people. The FDA approved drugs just create side effects so they can come out with another drug to treat the side effect symptoms from the other drug. Lets face it PROHIBITION KILLS AND MAIMS our Constitutional rights and Freedoms. The new GOD in our country is called FERERALISM with a PLANET OF THE APES MENTALITY and BANANA REPUBLIC RULES. Just remember who controls and owns the boob tube programs on what we watch.

    9. Jeff says:

      well I would have a pot parlor party ..but the second i do i will get a letter in the mail ordering me to take a random drug test.cdl.i am fucked !! If i were a risk to other drivers..and was under the influence of some doctors poison, or an alcoholic i would be fine with the legal system..but i have tried the pills..made me sick and agitated..tried the booze..fought with strangers, wife, neighbors..so weed is my only way to feel normal..i think i fucked up my cannibinoid receptors with alcohol and pills when i was a kid..so i look forward to when my youngest is independant..then i will toke and not worry about jail..hell last time i was there weed was easier to get than on the street..cost alot more but it was there, its a damn shame we haved to give up our spot in society just to have the freedom to light up, makes me wish i was dead..shit fuckin hole USA..nobody stands up for their shit, i shoulnt haved to be sick or lose my job just to smoke a plant that is easier to grow than tomatoes, i hope our rulers die long drawn out painful deaths!!

    10. Brandon says:

      I say a 99% chance cannabis will be legal in 25 years, 100% chance in 30 years.