Parallels Between Prohibition and Today's Pot Laws

Parallels Between Prohibition and Today's Pot Laws
Posted by CN Staff on September 02, 2006 at 08:00:50 PT
By Jim Hilsabeck
Source: Napa Valley Register 
California -- After reading the Aug. 28 opinion piece on illegals coming to the Napa Valley to grow marijuana, and as a student of American history, I wondered if there were lessons to learn from America's prohibitions during the last century.It seems there is a direct parallel between the prohibition of pot and alcohol prohibition, and it is based on a principal tenet of capitalism: If there is a need, someone fills it.
When alcohol disappeared from shelves from 1920 to 1933, booze came from myriad sources. People produced it in small, compact stills in sheds, basements, attics and in the woods. It was smuggled from Canada, Mexico and Europe. Some of the largest names in distilling today entered the business or grew wealthy during the prohibition.For 60 years, the prohibition of cannabis has been enforced with the same results: closet growers across the United States produce some of the finest illegal hydroponic bud in the world; smuggling from Canada and Mexico continues unabated.To help understand marijuana's prohibitions, here is a brief historical sketch.In the early 1900s it was tough finding work in Mexico, so Mexicans crossed the Rio Grande into Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Montana -- with them came marijuana. White landowners viewed this influx of Mexicans in racist terms and created state laws against marijuana based on bigotry, not science. The first laws against marijuana had nothing to do with the weed because nobody new anything about it.On the floor of the Texas Senate, one senator said, "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (marijuana) is what makes them crazy."From 1915 to 1937, some 27 states passed criminal laws against the use of marijuana. What motivated 27 states to enact criminal laws against cannabis?An excerpt from a 1919 editorial in the New York Times offers this insight: "No one here in New York uses this drug, marijuana. We have only just heard about it from down in the southwest. But, we had better prohibit its use before it gets here. Otherwise, all the heroin and hard narcotics addicts cut off from their drugs by the Harrison Act, and the alcohol drinkers cut off by the prohibition of alcohol, will substitute this new and unknown drug, marijuana, for the drugs they used to use."Because it might be substituted for booze or narcotics, they outlawed it based on the theory of substitution. Twenty-six of the 27 states criminalized the use of marijuana; Utah was the first and only state to prohibit marijuana based on religious beliefs.On July 15, 1930, Harry Jacob Anslinger was appointed acting commissioner of a new bureau, the FBN (Federal Bureau of Narcotics).Here is an excerpt from a Hearst editorial, appearing Sept. 11, 1935: "One thing that the indolent legislatures should be made to understand is that the 'dope' traffic does not stand still. In recent years, the insidious and insanity-producing marihuana has become among the worst of the narcotic banes, invading even the school houses of the country, and the Uniform State Narcotic Law is the only legislation yet devised to deal effectively with this horrid menace."In 1937 we got the Marihuana Tax Act. Like the Harrison Act, this too had a hidden agenda; once again, this wasn't a tax -- it was conceived to prohibit conduct -- not raise revenue.On the House floor on June 10, 1937, Congressman Snell asked the Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, what HR 6906 (Marijuana Tax Act) was about.Rayburn said, "It has something to do with something that is called marijuana. I believe it is a narcotic of some kind."Commissioner Anslinger testified before Congress: "Mr. Speaker (Rayburn), Congressmen, marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death ..."That was it -- that was the government's testimony supporting the prohibition of marijuana.Congressmen and senators participating in the hearings accepted the bureau's arguments. There was no probing of government witnesses. In fact, the government made its case in the House in one session.In 2003, Executive Director of NORML (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws) Keith Stroup wrote: "Over 724,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges last year, 89 percent for simple possession. We're needlessly destroying the lives and careers of hundreds of thousands of genuinely good citizens each year."Our drug laws do not reflect well upon current policies and their defenders. It becomes obvious after you have read historical records that bring to light the motivations and judgments of lawmakers who encouraged and assisted with the criminal prohibition of marijuana in the United States.We must ask what role science, medicine and critical analysis played.My thanks to Charles H. Whitebread, Professor of Law at The University of Southern California Law School.(Hilsabeck lives in Napa.)Cited Article: Napa Valley Register (CA)Author: Jim HilsabeckPublished: Saturday, September 2, 2006Copyright: 2006 Pulitzer Community Newspapers, Inc.Website: napaopinion napanews.comNORML -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #22 posted by afterburner on September 04, 2006 at 01:32:07 PT
Oh ... Canada
CN ON: PUB LTE: Pot Crusader Punished For Who He Is, Hamilton Spectator, (02 Sep 2006) MB: RCMP Retract 'Pound For Pound' Assertion, The Reminder, (30 Aug 2006) Book Review: Potted Toil, Globe and Mail, (02 Sep 2006), Canadian Liberals, if you want to get power back and to stop the Harper Conservative minority damage, vote against the Softwood Lumber "Deal" and let the chips fall where they may. Don't be afraid to vote "non confidence." Look how much damage Harper has already done in such a short time! Do not repeat the appeasement policies of Neville Chamberlain. Get a leader and get tough. Join with the NDP to eNDProhibition. 
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Comment #21 posted by unkat27 on September 03, 2006 at 14:56:57 PT
The Morons Rule the World
"We must ask what role science, medicine and critical analysis played."None whatsoever. We're all being led by a bunch of greedy religious-right morons with an average IQ of 80 who are forcing us down to their ignorant level at the point of a gun, whether we like it or not.Ignorance and stupidity reign over Washington DC and threaten to create the most powerful empire the world and the human race has ever known. 
On Hemp, Cannabis, and the Oil Pigs
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Comment #20 posted by ekim on September 03, 2006 at 10:33:25 PT
Radley's new article at the Wall Street Journal
Radley's new article at the Wall Street Journal 
Criminologist Peter Kraska estimates that the number of SWAT team "call-outs" soared past 40,000 in 2001 (the latest year for which figures are available) from about 3,000 in 1981. The vast majority are employed for routine police work -- such as serving drug warrants -- not the types of situations for which SWAT teams were originally established. And because drug policing often involves tips from confidential informants -- many of whom are drug dealers themselves, or convicts looking for leniency -- it's rife with bad information. As a result, hundreds of innocent families and civilians have been wrongly subjected to violent, forced-entry raids.
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Comment #19 posted by mayan on September 03, 2006 at 09:02:17 PT
More Opium
For the masses, that is. Time to escalate the "war on drugs."Bush's Legacy in Afghanistan: More Heroin on the Streets of America (Add comments): warns of soaring Afghan opium: Debunking the Debunking Debunkers...Why the NIST "Fact Sheet" Just Won't Do:'s World Trade Center FAQ: A Reply to the National Institute for Standards and Technology's Answers to Frequently Asked Questions: 9/11 Commissioners Bowed to Pressure to Suppress Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks:
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on September 03, 2006 at 08:44:10 PT
One More Comment
Just like the Vietnam soldiers came home strung out on Heroin I believe we will see many current Veterans coming home strung out too. Heroin numbs so it would be a perfect drug for soldiers suffering from shell shock. It's just a natural extension of war in my opinion. And so goes the war on drugs. It's all the same thing just repeated since war is something the powers that be seem to enjoy.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on September 03, 2006 at 08:23:49 PT
About Opium Production
I remembered when Rumsfeld said we shouldn't worry about the poppy growing because they need to make a living somehow. What that meant to me is let it grow and then we can have a war in my opinion. Keeping war going is what is important to the Republican Party. Hawks need war. 
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Comment #16 posted by John Tyler on September 03, 2006 at 08:05:16 PT
on Afghan Opium production increase
Isn’t it odd that wherever the US goes in the world, whether it is Southeast Asia (Vietnam, et al.), South America (Columbia, et al.) or the Middle East a huge increase in drug production / activity always follows?  For a nation with such strident anti drug policies this is very inconsistent, to the point of being hypocritical. I’m not a detective or a forensic accountant or anything like that, but it seems to me that for something on this scale to occur on a regular basis, like a regular on going commodity business, that an awful lot of people on the inside have to be involved in order to facilitate this activity.  On the other hand, are the people in the drug production / activity business so intelligent, clever, and nimble that they can outsmart our Drug Warriors at almost every turn? I guess you have to ask is the reason collusion or incompetence? Like they say in the song, “It’s the politics of contraband” and “The lure of easy money has a very strong appeal”.This whole thing reminds me of a scene from “Casablanca” when the top police guy goes to Rick’s American Café and says that he is shocked to find that illegal gambling is occurring. Just then Rick’s assistant comes up to him to give him his “winnings”, which he takes. 
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Comment #15 posted by mayan on September 03, 2006 at 08:00:21 PT
Drug election agency: Feds shouldn't use offices to keep U.S. off the grass:,1713,BDC_2489_4963104,00.htmlCypress inhales: What were city officials who banned medical marijuana dispensaries smoking? day on a marijuana case with 'L.A.'s dopest attorney': as police let cannabis offenders off with a warning:
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on September 02, 2006 at 20:05:44 PT
Stan White sure has been published a lot. Good going!
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on September 02, 2006 at 19:46:03 PT
The clothing on the link you posted is simply pretty and stylish. I hope sanity rules with the Governor. Bill Maher was just on Larry King Live and he talked about hemp and how the Governor might sign the Bill and how it should be legal and marijuana should be legal too. 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on September 02, 2006 at 19:40:50 PT
A suit for the groom, too.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on September 02, 2006 at 19:39:42 PT
Surfing around...
I've found beautiful hemp curtains, sheets, tablecloths, towels, fabric and even a wedding dress!
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on September 02, 2006 at 19:22:46 PT
Hemp Clothing and Fabric
Wouldn't it be wonderful for it to be more available and more affordable?More designers, too. And hemp foods more available? We'd look and feel better and have cooler clothes. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on September 02, 2006 at 18:56:25 PT
About comment #1 I don't know for sure. There are so many different issues right now in California I can't seem to keep up with what they all are. Raids, dispensary issues, now Ed Rosenthal is being bothered again. We're waiting for the Governor to sign the Hemp Bill or refuse to sign it so we know one way or the other. California is a happening place. God bless those folks.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on September 02, 2006 at 18:50:24 PT
The GCW 
And thank you and everyone that has made CNews a very special place. I think the world of all the people who drop in and talk and share opinions with good sense and wisdom.
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Comment #7 posted by mayan on September 02, 2006 at 18:38:50 PT
RevRayGreen, the U.S. and British governments are making a killing off of that opium! They make certain drugs illegal, which dramatically inflates their price, then they protect certain cartels or go after the cartels that refuse to share the profits. Prohibition helped create the police-state and the criminal justice/prison-industrial complex. The "war on drugs" also made it possible to usher in the "war on terror", which began with the 9/11 inside job. THE BUSH-CHENEY DRUG EMPIRE [Lead story in the October 24, 2000 issue of "From The Wilderness"] - by Michael C. Ruppert: WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Coming Close to a Breakthrough on 9/11? US Reports Seek to Counter Conspiracy Theories About 9/11: the official story is the biggest conspiracy - by Barry Zwicker: Urges F.A.A. to Act Regarding False 9/11 Testimony: Italian International Conference on 9/11: Things We Now Know Five Years After 9/11: 9/11:
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on September 02, 2006 at 18:28:03 PT
Good Job, Stan White!
Thank you so much, GCW.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on September 02, 2006 at 18:19:31 PT
Comment 1
Do you suppose that's what the uproar there was about...and they weren't actually busted and shut down?
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on September 02, 2006 at 17:52:28 PT
Example why CannabisNEWS!!!
I want to again, thank FoM, and show an example why this family works and is right on!We can monitor MAP; get much of the news, as activists... but it is not all there. An example is the news that came out of Alaska when Frank the dank(less) Governor got major rejection in losing His bid for re-election in His state. It was not on MAP because it was not "drugnews."Because of queing into Cannabis New, I was able to see My family give updated info about the prohibitionists governor's loss and jump on it. It produced 3 LTE's, but it is an example of How team work works; with out C-news, the connection may not have existed.Thank YOU ALL.
Thank You all, very much.999You know the feeling; it's the feeling You see at NASA from below, when an astro makes it above!BLAST OFF!Newspapers don't want to mention it, but one reason Frank Murkowski lost his bid for a second term is because of his vendetta against cannabis ( marijuana/kaneh bosm ) at a time when so many citizens do not think it is appropriate to cage humans for using the God-given plant. Cannabis is a blessing to be accepted, not persecuted, prohibited and exterminated. Murkowski's out of touch and out of contention. US AK: PUB LTE: God, Not Frank, Gave Us HerbPubdate: Thu, 31 Aug 2006
Source: Anchorage Press (AK) AK: PUB LTE: Stance On Pot Was Governor's UndoingPubdate: Tue, 29 Aug 2006
Source: Juneau Empire (AK) AK: PUB LTE: Out Of TouchPubdate: Sat, 26 Aug 2006
Source: Ketchikan Daily News (AK)
Thank You, FoM, thank You, great activists.The Green Collar Worker
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on September 02, 2006 at 17:40:40 PT:
And we have troops there ?
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Afghanistan's world-leading opium cultivation rose a "staggering" 60 percent this year, the U.N. anti-drugs chief announced Saturday in urging the government to crack down on big traffickers and remove corrupt officials and police.
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Comment #2 posted by global_warming on September 02, 2006 at 16:56:09 PT
he was there to rob them
rob them of their civil rights, rob them of their medicine, its funny but true, that dea agent is nothing but a robber, hired by the big pharmacuetical companies to deny sick and dyeing human beings of their medicine
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 02, 2006 at 14:43:58 PT
DEA Agent Barred Inside Marijuana Dispensary
September 2, 2006 (CBS) LOS ANGELES -- An undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent was blocked from leaving a marijuana facility because he had a gun and employees thought he was a robber, Medical marijuana advocates said Saturday.On Wednesday, an undercover DEA agent entered the Trichome Healing Center at 7100 Van Nuys Blvd., near Sherman Way, and was prevented from leaving until additional agents came to his rescue, a DEA official said. The DEA agent was wearing a wire during a surveillance operation shortly before 2 p.m, and the DEA officials listening outside believed the undercover agent's identity had been compromised and that he was in danger, so they rushed inside. Patient advocate Brett Stone said that Trichome employees believed the agent was there to rob the facility. No arrests were made. Copyright: 2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc.
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