Articles Posted in Prohibition

iStock_000003299074XSmall.jpgStudent government at the University of Texas in Austin has attempted to pass a bill that would have been the first of its kind on any college campus in the country. Under the bill, campus police at the university would stop making arrests for simple possession of marijuana by students. While groundbreaking, campus police officials say that the bill would have been largely symbolic as officers must still enforce state laws. UT’s police department also noted that they have had an informal policy in place for the last several years of only issuing citations to students caught smoking.

Many who championed the bill pointed to the gross discrepancy in how the university treats on-campus consumption of alcohol with consumption of marijuana. Highlighting this argument is the sheer number of alcohol-related deaths that occur at the university and others just like it across the country. Known as a university with a healthy social scene, one has only to do a quick web search to see that several stories emerge every year of UT students dying tragically in senseless alcohol-related deaths. It is important to note that these are only the alcohol-related deaths that were picked up by the media, and do not even cover those related to drinking and driving. It is a senseless tragedy that too many are familiar with.

A decade-long scientific study by Claremont University professor Robert Gable found that marijuana is about 50-100 times safer than both alcohol and cocaine. In reaching this conclusion, Gable ranked the most commonly used drugs by their “safety margin”, essentially the lethal dosage of the drug divided by its effective dosage. For example, the safety margin of alcohol is 10 (330 (alcohol’s lethal dosage) divided by 33 (the amount it takes to feel its effects)). In other words, it takes 10 times as much alcohol to kill a person as it does to give them a buzz. In comparison, the safety margin of marijuana is 1,000 while cocaine has a margin of 15 and codeine has a margin of 20.

Criminalization of Marijuana in Texas Fuels Crime Pt. I: Who Really Profits From Prohibition?
“There’s a reason these same gangs that deal marijuana aren’t brewing hops or selling moonshine.”

Since the criminalization of marijuana in the U.S. during the 1930’s, officials have stigmatized marijuana users as thieves, felons and all-around dangers to society. Many may remember the “pot paranoia” during the days of propaganda films such as Reefer Madness (released 1936), in which two teenagers are pressured into trying marijuana and subsequently go on a felony crime spree. Today it is widely accepted that much early marijuana propaganda was misinformed and misleading. Though numerous government studies and private research has led to a general shift in public perception and acceptance of marijuana, many states have yet to reform their laws to reflect this change.

Criminalization of Marijuana in Texas Fuels Crime Pt. II: From Al Capone to the Zetas, How Prohibition Laws May Be Working Against Their Very Purpose

“There’s a reason these same gangs that deal marijuana aren’t brewing hops or selling moonshine.”

Many have been quick to point out similarities between the evils stemming from alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s and the gang and cartel violence stemming from marijuana prohibition today. In 1920, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed, banning the sale, transportation and manufacture of alcohol. Even as the amendment passed, it was clear that millions neither wanted nor respected a ban on alcohol. Rather than altering the actions of the people as it was originally intended, prohibition caused alcohol to be an extremely lucrative commodity.