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Why Is Marijuana Illegal?


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Une passionnante histoire de la prohibition: Why Is Marijuana Illegal? by Pete Guither

Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug.

The actual story shows a much different picture. Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a specific agenda to deceive lawmakers. You'll see below that the very first federal vote to prohibit marijuana was based entirely on a documented lie on the floor of the Senate.

You'll also see that the history of marijuana's criminalization is filled with:

* Racism

* Fear

* Protection of Corporate Profits

* Yellow Journalism

* Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators

* Personal Career Advancement and Greed

These are the actual reasons marijuana is illegal.

Background

For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. It's not a recently discovered plant, nor is it a long-standing law. Marijuana has been illegal for less than 1% of the time that it's been in use. Its known uses go back further than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a boy.

The marijuana (hemp) plant, of course, has an incredible number of uses. The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, and over the centuries the plant was used for food, incense, cloth, rope, and much more. This adds to some of the confusion over its introduction in the United States, as the plant was well known from the early 1600's, but did not reach public awareness as a recreational drug until the early 1900's.

America's first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It was a law "ordering" all farmers to grow Indian hempseed. There were several other "must grow" laws over the next 200 years (you could be jailed for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767), and during most of that time, hemp was legal tender (you could even pay your taxes with hemp -- try that today!) Hemp was such a critical crop for a number of purposes (including essential war requirements - rope, etc.) that the government went out of its way to encourage growth.

The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp "plantations" (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton.

The Mexican Connection

In the early 1900s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The revolution in Mexico in 1910 spilled over the border, with General Pershing's army clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, bad feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the depression came and increased tensions, as jobs and welfare resources became scarce.

One of the "differences" seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them.

However, the first state law outlawing marijuana did so not because of Mexicans using the drug. Oddly enough, it was because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church was not pleased and ruled against use of the drug. Since the state of Utah automatically enshrined church doctrine into law, the first state marijuana prohibition was established in 1915. (Today, Senator Orrin Hatch serves as the prohibition arm of this heavily church-influenced state.)

Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923), Nevada (1923), Oregon (1923), Washington (1923), Arkansas (1923), and Nebraska (1927). These laws tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican-American population.

When Montana outlawed marijuana in 1927, the Butte Montana Standard reported a legislator's comment: "When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies." In Texas, a senator said on the floor of the Senate: "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy."

Jazz and Assassins

In the eastern states, the "problem" was attributed to a combination of Latin Americans and black jazz musicians. Marijuana and jazz traveled from New Orleans to Chicago, and then to Harlem, where marijuana became an indispensable part of the music scene, even entering the language of the black hits of the time (Louis Armstrong's "Muggles", Cab Calloway's "That Funny Reefer Man", Fats Waller's "Viper's Drag").

Again, racism was part of the charge against marijuana, as newspapers in 1934 editorialized: "Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men's shadows and look at a white woman twice."

Two other fear-tactic rumors started to spread: one, that Mexicans, Blacks and other foreigners were snaring white children with marijuana; and two, the story of the "assassins." Early stories of Marco Polo had told of "hasheesh-eaters" or hashashin, from which derived the term "assassin." In the original stories, these professional killers were given large doses of hashish and brought to the ruler's garden (to give them a glimpse of the paradise that awaited them upon successful completion of their mission). Then, after the effects of the drug disappeared, the assassin would fulfill his ruler's wishes with cool, calculating loyalty.

By the 1930s, the story had changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: "Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp." Within a very short time, marijuana started being linked to violent behavior.

Alcohol Prohibition and Federal Approaches to Drug Prohibition

During this time, the United States was also dealing with alcohol prohibition, which lasted from 1919 to 1933. Alcohol prohibition was extremely visible and debated at all levels, while drug laws were passed without the general public's knowledge. National alcohol prohibition happened through the mechanism of an amendment to the constitution.

Earlier (1914), the Harrison Act was passed, which provided federal tax penalties for opiates and cocaine.

The federal approach is important. It was considered at the time that the federal government did not have the constitutional power to outlaw alcohol or drugs. It is because of this that alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment.

At that time in our country's history, the judiciary regularly placed the tenth amendment in the path of congressional regulation of "local" affairs, and direct regulation of medical practice was considered beyond congressional power under the commerce clause (since then, both provisions have been weakened so far as to have almost no meaning).

Since drugs could not be outlawed at the federal level, the decision was made to use federal taxes as a way around the restriction. In the Harrison Act, legal uses of opiates and cocaine were taxed (supposedly as a revenue need by the federal government, which is the only way it would hold up in the courts), and those who didn't follow the law found themselves in trouble with the treasury department.

In 1930, a new division in the Treasury Department was established -- the Federal Bureau of Narcotics -- and Harry J. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana.

Harry J. Anslinger

Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity -- a new government agency with the opportunity to define both the problem and the solution. He immediately realized that opiates and cocaine wouldn't be enough to help build his agency, so he latched on to marijuana and started to work on making it illegal at the federal level.

Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. Some of his quotes regarding marijuana…

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others."

"…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."

"Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death."

"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."

"Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing"

"You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother."

"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."

And he loved to pull out his own version of the "assassin" definition:

"In the year 1090, there was founded in Persia the religious and military order of the Assassins, whose history is one of cruelty, barbarity, and murder, and for good reason: the members were confirmed users of hashish, or marihuana, and it is from the Arabs' 'hashashin' that we have the English word 'assassin.'"

Yellow Journalism

Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolf Hearst, owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to help. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn't want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. Third, he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans. Fourth, telling lurid lies about Mexicans (and the devil marijuana weed causing violence) sold newspapers, making him rich.

Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

"Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days -- Hashish goads users to bloodlust."

"By the tons it is coming into this country -- the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him…."

And other nationwide columns…

"Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug."

"Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim's life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES -- that is a matter of cold record."

Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.

This all set the stage for…

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

After two years of secret planning, Anslinger brought his plan to Congress -- complete with a scrapbook full of sensational Hearst editorials, stories of ax murderers who had supposedly smoked marijuana, and racial slurs.

It was a remarkably short set of hearings.

The one fly in Anslinger's ointment was the appearance by Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association.

Woodward started by slamming Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics for distorting earlier AMA statements that had nothing to do with marijuana and making them appear to be AMA endorsement for Anslinger's view.

He also reproached the legislature and the Bureau for using the term marijuana in the legislation and not publicizing it as a bill about cannabis or hemp. At this point, marijuana (or marihuana) was a sensationalist word used to refer to Mexicans smoking a drug and had not been connected in most people's minds to the existing cannabis/hemp plant. Thus, many who had legitimate reasons to oppose the bill weren't even aware of it.

Woodward went on to state that the AMA was opposed to the legislation and further questioned the approach of the hearings, coming close to outright accusation of misconduct by Anslinger and the committee:

"That there is a certain amount of narcotic addiction of an objectionable character no one will deny. The newspapers have called attention to it so prominently that there must be some grounds for [their] statements [even Woodward was partially taken in by Hearst's propaganda]. It has surprised me, however, that the facts on which these statements have been based have not been brought before this committee by competent primary evidence. We are referred to newspaper publications concerning the prevalence of marihuana addiction. We are told that the use of marihuana causes crime.

But yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show the number of prisoners who have been found addicted to the marihuana habit. An informed inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no evidence on that point.

You have been told that school children are great users of marihuana cigarettes. No one has been summoned from the Children's Bureau to show the nature and extent of the habit, among children.

Inquiry of the Children's Bureau shows that they have had no occasion to investigate it and know nothing particularly of it.

Inquiry of the Office of Education— and they certainly should know something of the prevalence of the habit among the school children of the country, if there is a prevalent habit— indicates that they have had no occasion to investigate and know nothing of it.

Moreover, there is in the Treasury Department itself, the Public Health Service, with its Division of Mental Hygiene. The Division of Mental Hygiene was, in the first place, the Division of Narcotics. It was converted into the Division of Mental Hygiene, I think, about 1930. That particular Bureau has control at the present time of the narcotics farms that were created about 1929 or 1930 and came into operation a few years later. No one has been summoned from that Bureau to give evidence on that point.

Informal inquiry by me indicates that they have had no record of any marihuana of Cannabis addicts who have ever been committed to those farms.

The bureau of Public Health Service has also a division of pharmacology. If you desire evidence as to the pharmacology of Cannabis, that obviously is the place where you can get direct and primary evidence, rather than the indirect hearsay evidence."

Committee members then proceeded to attack Dr. Woodward, questioning his motives in opposing the legislation. Even the Chairman joined in:

The Chairman: If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to come here with some constructive proposals, rather than criticism, rather than trying to throw obstacles in the way of something that the Federal Government is trying to do. It has not only an unselfish motive in this, but they have a serious responsibility.

Dr. Woodward: We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for 2 years without any intimation, even, to the profession, that it was being prepared.

After some further bantering…

The Chairman: I would like to read a quotation from a recent editorial in the Washington Times:

The marihuana cigarette is one of the most insidious of all forms of dope, largely because of the failure of the public to understand its fatal qualities.

The Nation is almost defenseless against it, having no Federal laws to cope with it and virtually no organized campaign for combating it.

The result is tragic.

School children are the prey of peddlers who infest school neighborhoods.

High school boys and girls buy the destructive weed without knowledge of its capacity of harm, and conscienceless dealers sell it with impunity.

This is a national problem, and it must have national attention.

The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a deadly drug, and American children must be protected against it.

That is a pretty severe indictment. They say it is a national question and that it requires effective legislation. Of course, in a general way, you have responded to all of these statements; but that indicates very clearly that it is an evil of such magnitude that it is recognized by the press of the country as such.

And that was basically it. Yellow journalism won over medical science.

The committee passed the legislation on. And on the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

Member from upstate New York: "Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?"

Speaker Rayburn: "I don't know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it's a narcotic of some kind."

"Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?"

Member on the committee jumps up and says: "Their Doctor Wentworth[sic] came down here. They support this bill 100 percent."

And on the basis of that lie, on August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level.

The entire coverage in the New York Times: "President Roosevelt signed today a bill to curb traffic in the narcotic, marihuana, through heavy taxes on transactions."

Anslinger as precursor to the Drug Czars

Anslinger was essentially the first Drug Czar. Even though the term didn't exist until William Bennett's position as director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, Anslinger acted in a similar fashion. In fact, there are some amazing parallels between Anslinger and the current Drug Czar John Walters. Both had kind of a carte blanche to go around demonizing drugs and drug users. Both had resources and a large public podium for their voice to be heard and to promote their personal agenda. Both lied constantly, often when it was unnecessary. Both were racists. Both had the ear of lawmakers, and both realized that they could persuade legislators and others based on lies, particularly if they could co-opt the media into squelching or downplaying any opposition views.

Anslinger even had the ability to circumvent the First Amendment. He banned the Canadian movie "Drug Addict," a 1946 documentary that realistically depicted the drug addicts and law enforcement efforts. He even tried to get Canada to ban the movie in their own country, or failing that, to prevent U.S. citizens from seeing the movie in Canada. Canada refused. (Today, Drug Czar John Walters is trying to bully Canada into keeping harsh marijuana laws.)

Anslinger had 37 years to solidify the propaganda and stifle opposition. The lies continued the entire time (although the stories would adjust -- the 21 year old Florida boy who killed his family of five got younger each time he told it). In 1961, he looked back at his efforts:

"Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded [sic] by the smoking of one or more marijuana "reefers." As the marijuana situation grew worse, I knew action had to be taken to get the proper legislation passed. By 1937 under my direction, the Bureau launched two important steps First, a legislative plan to seek from Congress a new law that would place marijuana and its distribution directly under federal control. Second, on radio and at major forums, such that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the story of this evil weed of the fields and river beds and roadsides. I wrote articles for magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, social and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported on the growing list of crimes, including murder and rape. I described the nature of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to hammer at the facts.

I believe we did a thorough job, for the public was alerted and the laws to protect them were passed, both nationally and at the state level. We also brought under control the wild growing marijuana in this country. Working with local authorities, we cleaned up hundreds of acres of marijuana and we uprooted plants sprouting along the roadsides."

After Anslinger

On a break from college in the 70s, I was visiting a church in rural Illinois. There in the literature racks in the back of the church was a lurid pamphlet about the evils of marijuana -- all the old reefer madness propaganda about how it caused insanity and murder. I approached the minister and said "You can't have this in your church. It's all lies, and the church shouldn't be about promoting lies." Fortunately, my dad believed me, and he had the material removed. He didn't even know how it got there. But without me speaking up, neither he nor the other members of the church had any reason NOT to believe what the pamphlet said. The propaganda machine had been that effective.

The narrative since then has been a continual litany of:

* Politicians wanting to appear tough on crime and passing tougher penalties

* Constant increases in spending on law enforcement and prisons

* Racist application of drug laws

* Taxpayer funded propaganda

* Stifling of opposition speech

* Political contributions from corporations that profit from marijuana being illegal (pharmaceuticals, alcohol, etc.)

… but that's another whole story.

Trouvé via LewRockwell.com

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un chichon? tu veux dire un chilum? un joint? un zeudou?

hihi

attention ca fume un peu dans ton masque, la

l'etat des gens qui fument chroniquement depend enormement de leur personnalite, de s'ils fument du tabac a cote et de s'il font du sport.

et de s'ils ont une femme/ un homme, et/ou des enfants :icon_up:

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Euh, tu veux dire que les consommateurs réguliers de cannabis sont facilement identifiables à leur tête ?

Non ce n'est pas ce que je voulais dire,…tu me fais réfléchir… peut-être qu'après plusieurs années de consommation ils sont aussi frais que les maladies psy que le cannabis exacerbent.

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Non ce n'est pas ce que je voulais dire,…tu me fais réfléchir… peut-être qu'après plusieurs années de consommation ils sont aussi frais que les maladies psy que le cannabis exacerbent.

Cela me fait penser que, tout à l'heure, un jeune galapiat a pollué un escalator entier en tirant sur son cornet de frites amélioré.

Ah, merde, j'ai confondu ce fil avec "Je raconte ma life II" ! Les effets secondaires du tabagisme passif, sans doute… :icon_up:

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Une passionnante histoire de la prohibition: Why Is Marijuana Illegal? by Pete Guither

C'est marrant, parce que j'ai récemment lu un livre sur la bataille pour la prohibition de l'alcool dans l'Etat de New York (les dry pensaient à raison que si NY tombait, le reste du pays suivrait) et il y a, dans une liste assez similaire à celle qui ouvre ton article, un point assez intéressant mais rarement mise en avant: le rôle décisif de la décentralisation et de la concurrence législative dans la victoire des pro-prohibition.

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C'est marrant, parce que j'ai récemment lu un livre sur la bataille pour la prohibition de l'alcool dans l'Etat de New York (les dry pensaient à raison que si NY tombait, le reste du pays suivrait) et il y a, dans une liste assez similaire à celle qui ouvre ton article, un point assez intéressant mais rarement mise en avant: le rôle décisif de la décentralisation et de la concurrence législative dans la victoire des pro-prohibition.

Tu peux expliquer un peu?

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Tu peux expliquer un peu?

Comprenant qu'ils n'avaient aucune chance de faire basculer NY dans le camp de la prohibition dans le système de l'époque, les lobbyistes dry ont concentrés leurs efforts sur une proposition de loi visant à transférer aux comtés toute une série de pouvoirs, dont ceux permettant de prendre des décisions relatives au commerce de l'alcool. Avançant masqués, ils ont ainsi obtenus le soutien d'un bon nombre de "régionalistes" pourtant "wets".

Une fois la mesure adoptée, ils ont focalisé leur campagne sur les comtés les plus éloignés de NY, ruraux et à population réduite. Pour toute une série de raisons, c'était là qu'on avait le plus fort taux de drys de l'Etat. Après quelques mois d'effort, le nombre de comtés ayant interdit le commerce d'alcool était assez élevé, bien que représentant une portion marginale de la population, et, par contagion législative, des comtés plus réservés sur la question se laissèrent entraîner, aboutissant ainsi à un encerclement des comtés vraiment wets. Cet encerclement leur fut bien sûr fatal - le petit village gaulois, c'est de la bd. L'Etat, à l'exception de NYC était donc totalement dry et la pression commençait à se faire sentir sur la ville. La même tactique fut mise en application, visant les districts plus bourgeois, où il y avait peu de cafés ou de bars et où le seul enjeu était de ne pas voir trop d'ivrognes au petit matin. Et puis les districts plus populaires ou commerçants virent arriver les ivrognes de la ville entière - c'est sur l'aspect incovénient que les lobbyistes insistèrent, bien sûr - et les derniers bastions tombèrent.

Malheureusement, le livre n'aborde pas ce point plus en détail, mais il est assez intéressant et mériterait plus ample étude.

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Comprenant qu'ils n'avaient aucune chance de faire basculer NY dans le camp de la prohibition dans le système de l'époque, les lobbyistes dry ont concentrés leurs efforts sur une proposition de loi visant à transférer aux comtés toute une série de pouvoirs, dont ceux permettant de prendre des décisions relatives au commerce de l'alcool. Avançant masqués, ils ont ainsi obtenus le soutien d'un bon nombre de "régionalistes" pourtant "wets".

Une fois la mesure adoptée, ils ont focalisé leur campagne sur les comtés les plus éloignés de NY, ruraux et à population réduite. Pour toute une série de raisons, c'était là qu'on avait le plus fort taux de drys de l'Etat. Après quelques mois d'effort, le nombre de comtés ayant interdit le commerce d'alcool était assez élevé, bien que représentant une portion marginale de la population, et, par contagion législative, des comtés plus réservés sur la question se laissèrent entraîner, aboutissant ainsi à un encerclement des comtés vraiment wets. Cet encerclement leur fut bien sûr fatal - le petit village gaulois, c'est de la bd. L'Etat, à l'exception de NYC était donc totalement dry et la pression commençait à se faire sentir sur la ville. La même tactique fut mise en application, visant les districts plus bourgeois, où il y avait peu de cafés ou de bars et où le seul enjeu était de ne pas voir trop d'ivrognes au petit matin. Et puis les districts plus populaires ou commerçants virent arriver les ivrognes de la ville entière - c'est sur l'aspect incovénient que les lobbyistes insistèrent, bien sûr - et les derniers bastions tombèrent.

Malheureusement, le livre n'aborde pas ce point plus en détail, mais il est assez intéressant et mériterait plus ample étude.

Cest fou la stratégie. Ou comment se démerder pour contraindre le voisin à adopter le même style vie.

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Comprenant qu'ils n'avaient aucune chance de faire basculer NY dans le camp de la prohibition dans le système de l'époque, les lobbyistes dry ont concentrés leurs efforts sur une proposition de loi visant à transférer aux comtés toute une série de pouvoirs, dont ceux permettant de prendre des décisions relatives au commerce de l'alcool. Avançant masqués, ils ont ainsi obtenus le soutien d'un bon nombre de "régionalistes" pourtant "wets".

Une fois la mesure adoptée, ils ont focalisé leur campagne sur les comtés les plus éloignés de NY, ruraux et à population réduite. Pour toute une série de raisons, c'était là qu'on avait le plus fort taux de drys de l'Etat. Après quelques mois d'effort, le nombre de comtés ayant interdit le commerce d'alcool était assez élevé, bien que représentant une portion marginale de la population, et, par contagion législative, des comtés plus réservés sur la question se laissèrent entraîner, aboutissant ainsi à un encerclement des comtés vraiment wets. Cet encerclement leur fut bien sûr fatal - le petit village gaulois, c'est de la bd. L'Etat, à l'exception de NYC était donc totalement dry et la pression commençait à se faire sentir sur la ville. La même tactique fut mise en application, visant les districts plus bourgeois, où il y avait peu de cafés ou de bars et où le seul enjeu était de ne pas voir trop d'ivrognes au petit matin. Et puis les districts plus populaires ou commerçants virent arriver les ivrognes de la ville entière - c'est sur l'aspect incovénient que les lobbyistes insistèrent, bien sûr - et les derniers bastions tombèrent.

Malheureusement, le livre n'aborde pas ce point plus en détail, mais il est assez intéressant et mériterait plus ample étude.

Et dans le sens inverse, comment la prohibition est elle tombée ? La concurence législative à t'elle joué dans ce sens ?

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Et dans le sens inverse, comment la prohibition est elle tombée ? La concurence législative à t'elle joué dans ce sens ?

Je crois pas, à mon avis, c'est plus simple dans l'autre sens : les américains se sont vite aperçus qu'ils aiment trop picoler.

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Et dans le sens inverse, comment la prohibition est elle tombée ?

Pour une raison très simple : au début des années'30, alors que la crise économique faisait baisser dramatiquement les recettes fiscales de l'État fédéral, celui-ci se rendit compte qu'il perdait une fortune en interdisant la consommation d'alcool qu'il pouvait taxer. Il se dépêcha donc de lever cette interdiction :

The Politics of Prohibition

How government greed, not individual rights, ended America's ban on alcohol.

Don Boudreaux | July 31, 2007

The standard, schoolbook history of alcohol prohibition in the United States goes like this:

Americans in 1920 embarked on a noble experiment to force everyone to give up drinking. Alas, despite its nobility, this experiment was too naive to work. It soon became clear that people weren't giving up drinking. Worse, it also became clear that Prohibition fueled mobsters who grew rich supplying illegal booze. So, recognizing the futility of Prohibition, Americans repealed it in 1934.

This popular belief is completely mistaken. Here's what really happened:

National alcohol prohibition did begin on Jan. 16, 1920, following ratification of the 18th Amendment and enactment of the Volstead Act.

Speakeasies and gangster violence did become familiar during the 1920s.

And Americans did indeed keep drinking.

But contrary to popular belief, the 1920s witnessed virtually no sympathy for ending Prohibition. Neither citizens nor politicians concluded from the obvious failure of Prohibition that it should end.

As historian Norman Clark reports:

"Before 1930 few people called for outright repeal of the (18th) Amendment. No amendment had ever been repealed, and it was clear that few Americans were moved to political action yet by the partial successes or failures of the Eighteenth. … The repeal movement, which since the early 1920s had been a sullen and hopeless expression of minority discontent, astounded even its most dedicated supporters when it suddenly gained political momentum."

What happened in 1930 that suddenly gave the repeal movement political muscle? The answer is the Great Depression and the ravages that it inflicted on federal income-tax revenues.

Prior to the creation in 1913 of the national income tax, about a third of Uncle Sam's annual revenue came from liquor taxes. (The bulk of Uncle Sam's revenues came from customs duties.) Not so after 1913. Especially after the income tax surprised politicians during World War I with its incredible ability to rake in tax revenue, the importance of liquor taxation fell precipitously.

By 1920, the income tax supplied two-thirds of Uncle Sam's revenues and nine times more revenue than was then supplied by liquor taxes and customs duties combined. In research that I did with University of Michigan law professor Adam Pritchard, we found that bulging income-tax revenues made it possible for Congress finally to give in to the decades-old movement for alcohol prohibition.

Before the income tax, Congress effectively ignored such calls because to prohibit alcohol sales then would have hit Congress hard in the place it guards most zealously: its purse. But once a new and much more intoxicating source of revenue was discovered, the cost to politicians of pandering to the puritans and other anti-liquor lobbies dramatically fell.

Prohibition was launched.

Despite pleas throughout the 1920s by journalist H.L. Mencken and a tiny handful of other sensible people to end Prohibition, Congress gave no hint that it would repeal this folly. Prohibition appeared to be here to stay -- until income-tax revenues nose-dived in the early 1930s.

From 1930 to 1931, income-tax revenues fell by 15 percent.

In 1932 they fell another 37 percent; 1932 income-tax revenues were 46 percent lower than just two years earlier. And by 1933 they were fully 60 percent lower than in 1930.

With no end of the Depression in sight, Washington got anxious for a substitute source of revenue.

That source was liquor sales.

Jouett Shouse, president of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment, was a powerful figure in the Democratic Party that had just nominated Franklin Roosevelt as its candidate for the White House. Shouse emphasized that ending Prohibition would boost government revenue.

And a House leader of Congress' successful attempt to propose the Prohibition-ending 21st Amendment said in 1934 that "if (anti-prohibitionists) had not had the opportunity of using that argument, that repeal meant needed revenue for our government, we would not have had repeal for at least 10 years."

There's no doubt that widespread understanding of Prohibition's futility and of its ugly, unintended side-effects made it easier for Congress to repeal the 18th Amendment. But these public sentiments were insufficient, by themselves, to end the war on alcohol.

Ending it required a gargantuan revenue shock -- to the U.S. Treasury.

So, if the history of alcohol prohibition is a guide, drug prohibition will not end merely because there are many sound, sensible and humane reasons to end it. Instead, it will end only if and when Congress gets desperate for another revenue source.

That's the sorry logic of politics and Prohibition.

http://www.reason.com/news/show/121674.html

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Pour une raison très simple : au début des années'30, alors que la crise économique faisait baisser dramatiquement les recettes fiscales de l'État fédéral, celui-ci se rendit compte qu'il perdait une fortune en interdisant la consommation d'alcool qu'il pouvait taxer. Il se dépêcha donc de lever cette interdiction :

Ce n'est quand même pas aussi simple que ça - d'ailleurs Roosevelt a longuement hésité - mais c'est clair que ce fut un facteur déterminant et que la bataille n'a pas été menée au niveau local cette fois-ci.

Par contre, les chiffres donnés dans le livre que j'évoque démente assez catégoriquement l'affirmation suivante:

gangster violence did become familiar during the 1920s.
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Ce n'est quand même pas aussi simple que ça - d'ailleurs Roosevelt a longuement hésité - mais c'est clair que ce fut un facteur déterminant et que la bataille n'a pas été menée au niveau local cette fois-ci.

Par contre, les chiffres donnés dans le livre que j'évoque démente assez catégoriquement l'affirmation suivante:

gangster violence did become familiar during the 1920s.

Familiers peut être pas mais d'apres cet article du CATO la prohibition est corrélée avec une augmentation des homicides de 30 à 40 %.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1017&full=1

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cette autre article souligne aussi la corrélation avec la prohibition des drogues.

http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/miron.prohibition.alcohol

miron.prohibition.alcohol.figure3.jpg

Roughly speaking, therefore, there have been two periods with high homicide rates in U.S. history, the 1920-1934 period and the 1970-1990 period (Friedman 1991). Both before the first episode and between these two episodes, homicide rates were relatively low or clearly declining. Prima facie, this pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that alcohol prohibition increased violent crime: homicide rates are high in the 1920-1933 period, when constitutional prohibition of alcohol was in effect; the homicide rate drops quickly after 1933, when Prohibition was repealed; and the homicide rate remains low for a substantial period thereafter. Further, the homicide rate is low during the 1950s and early 1960s, when drug prohibition was in existence but not vigorously enforced, but high in the 1970-1990 period, when drug prohibition was enforced to a relatively stringent degree (Miron 1999).

To see this more carefully, consider Figure 4, which plots real per capita expenditure by the federal government for enforcement of alcohol and drug prohibition over this same period. As discussed in Miron (1999, 2001), the effect of prohibition on violence depends not just on the existence of a prohibition but on the degree to which it is enforced. Increased enforcement narrows the scope of legal exceptions to the prohibition (e.g., medical uses), thereby increasing the size of the black market, and increased enforcement destroys reputations and implicit property rights within the black market. Both effects increase the use of violence.

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