Prohibition and the rise of black markets are two very complex issues that will be forever intertwined. It is difficult to sum up the modern reasoning for drug prohibition, as the war on drugs was revealed to have been a political scam cooked up by Nixon and his henchmen. The goal was to target counter-culture and wipe out political dissent, using drugs and lies to do it. Despite the fact that our understandings of drugs and the politics behind prohibition have significantly changed, global policy largely has not.
When you tell a man that he cannot have a thing, he starts to want it, simply because he cannot have it. By blacklisting a substance, the authorities immediately created a demand, as a byproduct of human nature. With marijuana, it seems as though clearer heads are prevailing, yet there are still some who choose to cling to outdated propaganda and continue to propagate falsehoods for political means. Now that the science is in, and the drug war has been exposed for the fraud that it is, why is there even a debate over the future of marijuana’s legal status?
American alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s was called the “noble experiment” as they truly believed that by banning alcohol, it may improve some of the social problems of the day. It took 13 years for them to realize that the experiment had failed, and that you cannot socially engineer a perfect society. Cannabis and other drugs were not banned for public safety, they were banned for politics. They were banned so authorities could have a reason to divide the population by lines of race, ideology and culture. We are no longer living in the 70s and yet the mindset remains in much of the older, more conservative population.
Alcohol prohibition led to the growth of the mafia and gangsters like Al Capone. The results of the drug war were far more sinister. Hundreds of cartels sprung up around the world which have ravaged entire nations, led to the deaths of millions of people, and created a drug epidemic where none existed before. When you look at the failures of the past, and then look at the successes in ending prohibition in certain areas, the answer becomes clear. Prohibition is a tool of fear. Prohibition spurs dangerous black markets and gives power to criminals instead of empowering individuals.
We have all seen through the veil of prohibition, and know that it causes more problems than it hopes to solve. Prohibitionists no longer have a valid argument to perpetuate old myths, yet they persist. The cries for public safety, particularly where marijuana is concerned, no longer correlate with the science. As more and more nations eye legalization as a means of satisfying the public and boosting the economy, the less of a platform the prohibitionists will have to gain support. Prohibition is slowly but surely coming to end. Hopefully, we have learned all we can from the mistakes of yesterday.