Prohibition Strikes Back

After watching Ken Burns’ documentary on Prohibition, I had Mencken on the brain (I used him as my quote last week, you might’ve noticed), and so it seemed fortuitous that a friend sent me this piece on the Baltimore City Paper about marijuana and the new Jim Crow in the “free state” of Maryland. Read the Mencken quote in that piece, and then apply that sentiment to the current passage of HB 2 here in Austin. It seems to me that the weed and the abortion issues are actually two parts of the same phenomenon; both result from a superstitious, spiteful, cornered minority lashing out (legislatively) at the rest of society.

Both are also conspicuously anachronistic in a time after we’ve decoded the genome and sent an object out of our solar system—let alone a time after several social barriers have been completely demolished, and all demographic trends suggest a transition to a society in which no one cultural group will have hegemony.

Most people don’t have a problem with gay marriage, for example, according to polls. And we have the embryonic science to make rational statements—and choices—about women’s health.* And we have the botanical science to know that marijuana is (or should be) in a similar category as alcohol. And yet, the repressive, prohibitive legislation passes.

Most likely, just like Prohibition in the ’20s, this latest round of repressive and reactionary law-passing will be found to be a mistake. These kinds of laws don’t stop the activity they’re ostensibly aimed to stop (War on Drugs, anyone?), and in the meantime they create a whole host of negative side-effects. But in the meantime, while these laws are on the books, they cause real harm to real people, and so we must continue all efforts to highlight their hypocrisy, sobvert their authority, and hinder their enforcement. Check out the Feminist Justice League if you don’t know where/how to get started on the anti-aborition charge. On the weed front—well, um… anybody know of any organizations working on this in Austin?


* Note that even if the science suggested that an embryo or fetus felt pain at a certain stage of its development, I still side with the mother to make the decision, up to a reasonable limit (which has already been defined by women, medical doctors, and other experts).

2 thoughts on “Prohibition Strikes Back

  1. Great article well written, I hope that everything does work out in congress. However they did also say if i recall properly that they were not going to bother California about it either; how ever, years later the feds decided to go ahead and prosecute anyways. Personally as both a state and an individual or a business owner looking to get involved in this. I wouldn’t make a move on this nor spend a penny until and actual federal amendment is granted by congress and approved by the house and greed upon by everyone. But I do hope that everything works out well for both Colorado and Washington because if thats the case I think it could be a positive move forward towards an actual federal amendment for it. What are your thoughts on this? I would like to hear.
    A Hidden Smoke Shop

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