The Possibility Of Prohibition In The 1920's

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The prohibition of intoxicating beverages was one of the least successful experiments in American social and criminal history, but in spite of its obvious failure in the 1920s, the American experiment in prohibition is still being continued today. For decades, our leaders have been telling us that America is in the middle of a drug epidemic, and the trade in illicit drugs has certainly created a criminal industry that is incredibly profitable and extremely violent. Until recently, however, few respectable political or law enforcement officials have been willing to consider the possibility of legalization. The moral, medical and social disgrace attached to illegal drug use was simply too great. In recent years, however, as the crisis has escalated…show more content…
Following the failure of the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the 1920s, America 's law enforcement establishment looked around for another target for government intervention, and drugs thought to be used by poor minorities were a convenient choice for a renewed war on crime. The motives behind this thinking were that marijuana, heroin and opium originated outside America 's borders, and were consumed only by Blacks, Hispanics and Orientals. The simple solution was to go after the source of supply in Mexico or…show more content…
The supply of drugs would dry up quickly, however, if there were not an incessant, powerful demand for them in this country. America has an estimated $80 billion a year habit in illegal drugs, and the legal attacks on one kind of drugs (heroin in the 1950s, psychedelic substances and marijuana in the 1960s), only made consumers to turn to other substances (cocaine and its refined crystal "crack" in the 1970s and 1980s). The demand for illegal drugs is so great that removal of the source of supply in, say, Latin America, would only cause production to begin somewhere else. This is precisely what happened with opium and heroin, when production moved from Turkey to Southeast Asia and then to Mexico between 1950 and 1975, and with marijuana, which came largely from Mexico until the 1960s, but which is now produced domestically on a large scale. The lesson is obvious: "The problem really lies not with the drug-producing countries but with consuming countries like the U.S., which provide an avid market for their output." (Cook,

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