[That Other] Prohibition Was Repealed 80 Years Ago Today

  • by Sabrina Fendrick December 5, 2013

    On December 5th 1933 at exactly 5:32pm eastern standard time, Utah signed on as the last of the 36 states needed to ratify the 21st amendment, repealing the nation’s failed 13-year prohibition policy experiment banning the sale and use of alcohol nationwide.  At 6:55 p.m., President Roosevelt signed an official proclamation announcing the nation’s new alcohol policy.

    It was clear to the public, and politicians of the day that alcohol prohibition had failed in everything it was trying to achieve.  The 18th amendment led to widespread disrespect for the law, black market violence, serious loss of tax revenue, and a drain on police resources.


    Here we are again, eighty years later fighting another, equally damaging policy of marijuana prohibition.  Unlike the short lived 18th amendment however, our nation’s punitive and disastrous marijuana laws have been in effect for more than 75 years.  The longevity of this current prohibition has resulted in exponentially more damage to our society than that caused by the alcohol laws of the 1920’s and early 30’s.  Today’s laws have ruined millions of lives and wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.  It has fueled the black market, contributes to the erosion of civil liberties and continues to line the pockets of criminals and cartels.

    Eighty years ago today, our President and 36 states came to the same conclusion: That making something a majority of people perceive as harmless and fun illegal will not make it go away, or solve any problems perceived to be associated with its use.  It is about managing public safety by containing the market and managing the user experience.  The majority of alcohol drinkers and marijuana users are responsible people who consume in moderation.  It is time for our lawmakers to recognize what their predecessors did so many years ago, legalization and regulation is the only sensible solution.  Colorado and Washington are pioneering a new policy allowing for the legal, taxable sale of marijuana to adults 21+, and it is only a matter of time before more states follow suit.  Through an environment of control, standardization and accountability, both for the individual and the industry, our nation can begin to undo the generations of damage brought on by marijuana prohibition.

    The days of marijuana prohibition are numbered and one day, marijuana will take its rightful place alongside alcohol as a legal recreational alternative.  One day, we too will be celebrating our very own day of repeal.

    38 responses to “[That Other] Prohibition Was Repealed 80 Years Ago Today”

    1. Ray Walker says:

      Within the minds of many people hides a quiet hope. A hope that the true feeling of freedom can be achieved. Regardless of how impossible that feeling may be it is nonetheless focused upon. Cannabis reform will come but not in the form we would all like it to be in at first. If we choose our battles carefully we will go far in getting what we want. And after all isn’t it about us the people. I think so.

    2. Galileo Galilei says:

      “The 18th amendment led to widespread disrespect for the law, black market violence, serious loss of tax revenue, and a drain on police resources.” The consequences DO have a familiar ring to them, don’t they.

    3. Why has the marijuana prohibition has dragged out for so long?
      It seems to have started as a way to control an unwanted population during an economic depression.
      It was demonized by the media to induce public fear.
      Its been a political platform and a bureaucratic slush fund that has destroyed our constitution.
      Then marijuana was intertwined with the truly dangerous drugs and used to barter special deals in other countries as foreign policy.
      Marijuana prohibition has only helped the federal interests at the expense of the American public.
      No wonder the feds hate to see it go.

      Thanks NORML

    4. Closet Smoker says:

      I want to believe that the modern day prohibition will fall soon, but I also believe the prohibitionists are going to fight tooth and nail for every mm of ground. The latest is pot giving men man boobs because it makes our hormones go off kilter……ok then.

    5. Somedood says:

      Ah, but the difference being that Al Capone is a government official now.

    6. mexweed says:

      “Environment of control, standardization and accountability, both for the individual and the industry”–

      For the individual this means combine those features into an “environment” consisting of the utensil each individual uses to ingest herb– i.e. replace 500-mg-per-lightup H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide rolling papers with a standardized 25-mg vape toke achieved by having a screened crater not wider than 1/4″ inner diameter, and a long flexible drawtube attached at the butt end so you can see what you’re doing when you serve a vape toke.

      @Closet Smoker, just wondering, (a) in line with the above, would you consider changing your name to C. Vaper? (b) even if organic manboob enhancement doesn’t work out, you can look good in your bra just by adding the right padding.

    7. TheOracle says:

      Any dirt on the politicians who are holding Jared Polis’s bill in committee and letting it rot there?

      Get the dirt now to make them vote for it once it moves out of committee.


      Maybe once the market drops after tapering on the economic stimulus money people will be hard up enough to pull there heads out of their asses to let legalization happen.

    8. Prohibition came about because of feminists putting pressure on the church and the church put pressure on the government. The Churches in America should stay out of politics and stop worrying about marijuana.

    9. Dave Evans says:

      @ somedood. Yeah, after the 70’s and 80’s I think a lot of “up and coming” mobsters decided getting shot by the FBI wasn’t really a winning strategy, so they joined the Democrats and Republicans instead.

    10. Demonhype says:

      @Jimmy Potseed: “Marijuana prohibition has only helped the federal interests at the expense of the American public. No wonder the feds hate to see it go.”

      You’re looking at the wrong culprits. Look a little deeper. The feds are just tools. It’s the corporate capitalist interests that are fueling Prohibition and the Drug War, multi-billion dollar industries such as private prisons and drug testing companies, that are paying off our elected politicians to ignore the will of the people and keep this dangerous failure afloat. The feds are the face of the power that oppresses us, but the power behind the throne is the private corporate interests.

      Look at what is happening with the legalization effort now, like what recently happened in Maine: our elected officials are deliberately isolating the legalization question from the ballot, isolating the decision from the people, because they know they have lost our support and we will vote to legalize wherever the question comes up now. They never had a problem with legalization reaching a ballot before–because they knew it would fail, they knew they still had the majority support.

      Why would they do this? I think they are taking payouts from private corporate interests to block us this way, because at this point that is their last stand, the last battleground before they inevitably lose everything. I don’t know how long they can keep this up, how long they think their money can keep isolating this question from the public. Think about it: they never seemed to have such a problem with legalization reaching the ballots before, because they still had the majority support and knew it would tank every time, and they could use that as “proof” that they had the “correct” stance on marijuana and argumentum ad populum and all that good stuff. They could afford to allow us to vote on this issue. I really think that CO and WA surprised them immensely–because 1) they probably believed that only one state at a time would legalize and they could throw money at that state to neutralize it before it got implemented at all, much less caught on and 2) they probably believed that state would inevitably be California, and they could turn more people against it by using that as “proof” that only dangerous slacker lib’ruls support legalization, that the “land of the fruits and nuts” legalized because that is the only sort of person who supports the cause, and further strengthen their lucrative lie-factory. I think the fact that two states legalized at once–thus splitting their funds to the point of powerlessness–and the fact that neither state was California took them by surprise and completely destroyed their long game for keeping their dishonest money train going, perhaps forever. Now…keeping us from ever being allowed to vote on this issue ever again is their last hope.

      Oh, DEA, whore of corporate America, I look forward to the day you are completely destroyed, your remains burned to ash, and the ground on which you stood salted so that you can never oppress the innocent ever again. I look forward to dancing on your grave. And I take immense pleasure in the fact that you and I both know that all your efforts are ultimately futile, and you know that your time is coming to an inevitable end.