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Why Marijuana Prohibition Fails

Updated on June 8, 2011

The people have spoken...

Prohibition fails. Prohibition has failed-miserably- in the past, and it is doomed to fail once more. And without delving into a 9th grade history lesson on the culture of the American 'Great Depression', I will briefly breakdown and explain why prohibition failure is so immanent, and, finally, why marijuana will once again be made legal for recreational use in the very near future. The seemingly-endless debate over the legalization of marijuana will be put to rest, with logic and pragmatic reasoning getting the better of deeply-ingrained myth. The 1937 Prohibition will FINALLY lose whatever ground it once stood on, and here's why:

Time will Tell

At this juncture in the marijuana legislation debate there is no amount of research-based evidence that will convince policy makers to change their minds. Just about every year a new book or documentary is released pleading with the 'high ups' of society to lift the ban on civilian marijuana use. Everything that can be said, about the property of the drug, the potential health benefits and drawbacks, the potential government revenues, has been said. We all know that smoking a joint won't kill you, and many of us know that, on some level, there are external factors, such as religion and conservatism, that play a prominent role in the lasting power of the prohibition. With that said, I am not here to belabor the already over-saturated argument pertaining solely to the consequences of marijuana legalization on society. Instead, I hope to shed a new(er) light on the marijuana debate by arousing a more pragmatic, a more logical response to the question of prohibition. Hear me out.

The concept of prohibition is founded on a catch-22 (if that makes sense). That's right, even the idea of prohibiting a substance from public usage is, in itself, a paradox of sorts, and here's why: the need for prohibition of a substance, any substance, is fundamentally linked to its increasingly widespread consumption in society. I don't, for the life of me, know why the United States government decided to, effectively, ban liquor from public domain all those years back, but I can theorize on why, even then, prohibition was doomed for failure. In short, any substance that is so widely consumed within a society, so much so that it 'degrades' the very fabric of that society and requires government control and legislation is, by definition, uncontrollable, and 'unbanishable' from said society. Essentially, substance prohibition is only necessary when a substance is too popular in the public sphere, at which point, it is already out of the control of the government to banish or limit its usage.

So without pulling at any emotional strings, without delving into a history course, and without repeating all the petty facts and statistics on the effects of marijuana, can't we just leave it at this: "Prohibition cannot be enforced for the simple reason that the majority of American people do not want it enforced and are resisting its enforcement. That being so, the orderly thing to do under our form of government is to abolish a law which cannot be enforced, a law which the people of the country do not want enforced."

- New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, 1944.


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    • Nathan Orf profile image

      Nathan Orf 5 years ago

      Great job on this hub! You definitely laid out a great reason to legalize drugs. It is encouraging that, between the time this hub was written and now, a few more states have legalized marijuana. Looks like some states are already listening to the majority of Americans, instead of a tiny fraction of them.

      Voted up.

    • Olivia Preston profile image

      Olivia Preston 6 years ago from North Carolina

      There are very few people that I feel comfortable expressing that opinion to because many people don't understand, especially being a devout Christian. (That's why it's weird for me). Thanks for supporting it.

    • stoneyjohnson profile image

      stoneyjohnson 6 years ago from Montreal

      @Olivia Preston, and a valid opinion it is! I really appreciate when people who do not necessarily endorse the usage of the drug still speak out about the absurdity of prohibition. You are absolutely right that weed is not for everyone, and that it is simply a vice, like prescription meds or alcohol. Thank you for the comment!

    • Olivia Preston profile image

      Olivia Preston 6 years ago from North Carolina

      It's weird for me because I, honestly, don't understand why it's illegal even though I have only used it once in my life and it was the worst night of my life (because I over did it and mixed it with way too much alcohol.. bad night - those days are behind me now). Any thing can be abused.. take Rx drugs for example. I used to abuse them and they are legal. They were much more dangerous to my health than mj would be. Mj is a natural plant that DOES have medicinal purposes. Like I said - ANYTHING can be abused.. you can abuse power, privileges, alcohol, cigarettes, Rx, FOOD, people, rights, etc... So.. that being said - even though I do not use mj and I think that a lot of kids get a hold of it for the wrong reasons, I sort of think it's stupid to be illegal. Not saying I encourage it's use for every reason, just it's legality. To say it's a gateway drug is a scape goat. I didn't use it and I was much more apt to trying other drugs due to abusing harder ones first. Praise God He pulled me out of it and I have left that life - but the point is that there is no reason to single out mj since it does have benefits. Regulate?? Sure.. that might be an option if government just can't keep their hands out of it - but that's just my opinion.

    • stoneyjohnson profile image

      stoneyjohnson 6 years ago from Montreal

      Ah, Miss Info, I implore you to first give marijuana a try before ruling it out entirely. Unlike cigarettes, marijuana smoking has never been directly linked to any instances of lung cancer... or death. Everyone has their vice, and I respect that. But, frankly, you're wrong if you think that marijuana serves no medical benefits.

    • Miss Info profile image

      Miss Info 6 years ago from New York City

      My hope is that weed will never become legal because, like cigarettes, it serves no good purpose to mankind.