2024-04-17

Prohibition in The 21st Century?

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I don’t know about you, but when I hear about the word “prohibition” I can’t help to think back to when the likes of Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel and John Dillinger ruled the world. With their suits and period accents, it seems to be a term that’s a little corny and outdated. But the reality is that we are still living in a time of extreme prohibition; just dressed differently. 

It is true that the term prohibition was first coined in 1920, and referred to the prevention of manufacturing and sale of alcohol by law; any quick google search will tell you that one. But overtime it has grown in its definition, now expanding to the outlawing of any action. Here’s where our story begins.

1971, marks the official start of marijuana prohibition when Nixon declared his war on drugs. With a total of 492,000 arrests made on drug violation charges within that year, which was 76,400 more than the year previous, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This rising number in arrests will go on to become a trend throughout the rest of the century. 

Just within the first 10 years of Nixon’s battle this trend can be seen. There were now an estimated 559,300 total arrests made in 1981, rising little by little each year. These arrests were made not only if you were found with cannabis, but also if you were caught manufacturing or attempting to sell weed. Prohibition around marijuana was becoming very real at the beginning of the 70’s, with gangs starting to be run mob-style and promoting the underground distribution of cannabis. 

As the years went on to pass, gangs would grow in and around communities all throughout the U.S., conducting criminal operations. Due to this prohibition, it led to higher arrest, a rise in gang-related violence, and death. Yet, as more research comes out day by day, we are educated on the benefits cannabis can provide. 

Within the recent years we have gone to fight this prohibition, protesting and demanding change. Voting people into power who’ve promised to fix these issues. We’ve started to see states, as they introduce new bills and acts to help end this prohibition, but we still have a ways to go. Fighting unjust incarcerations and getting cannabis to a legal state similar to alcohol, one of the first substances to face prohibition.

We’ve seen it done before, who’s to say it can’t be done again?

Source: Drugs and Crimes Facts

Images: cottonbro, RODNAE

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