Once upon a time, booze was banned and weed wasn’t

17 01 2011

Reviewed: Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent, Scribner, 468 pages, $30 Source: Cannabisnews.

What Can Today’s Crusaders Against Prohibition Learn From Their Predecessors Who Ended the Alcohol Ban?

Of the 27 amendments to the U.S.  Constitution, the 18th is the only one explicitly aimed at restricting people’s freedom.  It is also the only one that has ever been repealed.  Maybe that’s encouraging, especially for those of us who recognize the parallels between that amendment, which ushered in the nationwide prohibition of alcohol, and current bans on other drugs.

But given the manifest failure and unpleasant side effects of Prohibition, its elimination after 14 years is not terribly surprising, despite the arduous process required to undo a constitutional amendment.  The real puzzle, as the journalist Daniel Okrent argues in his masterful new history of the period, is how a nation that never had a teetotaling majority, let alone one committed to forcibly imposing its lifestyle on others, embarked upon such a doomed experiment to begin with.  How did a country consisting mostly of drinkers agree to forbid drinking?

The short answer is that it didn’t.  As a reveler accurately protests during a Treasury Department raid on a private banquet in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, neither the 18th Amendment nor the Volstead Act, which implemented it, prohibited mere possession or consumption of alcohol.  The amendment took effect a full year after ratification, and those who could afford it were free in the meantime to stock up on wine and liquor, which they were permitted to consume until the supplies ran out.  The law also included exceptions that were important for those without well-stocked wine cellars or the means to buy the entire inventory of a liquor store ( as the actress Mary Pickford did ).  Home production of cider, beer, and wine was permitted, as was commercial production of alcohol for religious, medicinal, and industrial use ( three loopholes that were widely abused ).  In these respects Prohibition was much less onerous than our current drug laws.  Indeed, the legal situation was akin to what today would be called “decriminalization” or even a form of “legalization.” Read the rest of this entry »





We declared a war on ourselves, not drugs!

15 06 2010

As the country of origin for the war on drugs, the USA is the perfect example to overview the consequences of such measure.

As some Americans have been, and continue to be, pointing at the utility of such measures, Tony Newmann, communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance gives his view on the conception of drugs:

ALL OF US USE DRUGS, BUT ONLY SOME OF US GO TO JAIL!

Despite a $40 billion a year “war on drugs” that is premised on the goal of creating a “drug-free society,” our country is swimming in drugs.

Most people start using drugs before they even leave the house in the morning.  Yes, that first cup of coffee is what many of us need to start the day.  The next drug that millions of Americans use, sometimes up to 20 times a day, is our nicotine! And then, after a long day of work, many of us head to a local bar or to our refrigerator and pour ourselves a cocktail, ice cold beer or a nice glass of wine.

And I’m just getting started.  There are over 100 million Americans who have used marijuana.  Thirty years after Nancy Reagan told us to “Just Say No,” half of high-school seniors will try marijuana and 75% will try alcohol before they graduate.  And what about the college students who use Ritalin to help them focus and put in long hours at the library? And how about all of the superstar athletes who use performance enhancing substances? What about all of the men ( and women ) who are deeply grateful forthe “little blue pill”? And how about the businessmen who stay up until three in the morning with the help of a “little bump”?

Drugs are so popular because people use them for both pleasure and for pain.  Drugs can be fun.  How many of us enjoy having some drinks and going out dancing? How many of us enjoy a little smoke after a nice dinner with friends? Many people bond with others or find inspiration alone while under the influence of drugs.  On the flip side, many people self-medicate to try to ease the pain in their lives.  How many have us have had too much to drink to drown our sorrows over a breakup or some other painful event? How many of us smoke cigarettes or take prescription drugs to deal with anxiety or stress? Throughout recorded history, people have inevitably altered their consciousness to fall asleep, wake up, deal with stress, and for creative and spiritual purposes.

Read the rest of this entry »





Colorado companies allowing their employees to use medical marijuana?

19 03 2010

Medicinal cannabisWhen it comes to medical marijuana, Colorado employers are caught between conflicting laws.

The state’s medical-marijuana amendment, passed by voters in 2000, says that employers don’t have to accommodate medical-marijuana use in the workplace.

But another Colorado law, enacted a few years ago to protect cigarette smokers, prohibits firing employees for engaging in legal activities during nonworking hours.

That suggests that people who smoke medical marijuana before arriving at work could be protected under state law, whether their employers like it or not. And with roughly 30,000 Coloradans now estimated to be qualified to use medical marijuana, employers are growing increasingly uneasy.

Read the rest of this entry »





Cannabis as a cancer cure?

12 08 2009

medical marijuana for cancer treatment

On the surface, it stands to reason that people who smoke cannabis could possibly face similar elevated risks for head and throat cancers as do those who smoke tobacco, and/or drink alcohol. Both alcohol and tobacco use carry significantly higher risks for such cancers.

In 1999, a highly – publicised study indicated that cannabis users might face some elevated risk of head and neck cancers, as is the case with consumers of tobacco and alcohol. However, even the researchers from that study cautioned against making too much of their results and called for further study.

Read the rest of this entry »





Swiss Cannabis legalisation referendum – part 2

22 10 2008

The Swiss are getting ready for the referendum on cannabis legalisation at the end of next month. As we really appreciate this initiative and wish more governments would be so democratic as the Swiss, we plan to pay as much attention to this referendum as possible.

As discussed earlier on this blog on November 30th a referendum will be held among the people of Switzerland about whether to completely legalise possession, sale, and cultivation of cannabis.

After reading some of the comments made on the previous blogpost on reddit we feel it is probably wise to clarify some of the information given by us. In the last post we said the Swiss wanted to decriminalise cannabis usage. This is not totally correct and has apparently confused some of our readers..

What the referendum is actually about is the complete legalisation and regulation of the cannabis market. This means cannabis would get the same treatment as alcohol or cigarettes and goes much further then for instance the current Dutch system.

We feel legalisation and regulation are equally important and are the only way to effectively deal with the Cannabis “problem” many governments face nowadays.

The initiative also has a website which unfortunately is only available in German.

Click here to visit www.hanfinitiative.ch

Support this inniative so one day in the future it might happen in your country. Tell your friends, blog about it, write about it and if you happen to have voting rights in Switzerland go out and vote!








%d bloggers like this: