Today is Repeal Day

In January 1919, the 18th Amendment was passed, outlawing alcohol and putting an end to society’s ills, drunkenness, crime, poverty, and godlessness.  Or not, as it turns out people continued to drink but production and distribution went underground and crime and violence increased as criminal organizations took over smuggling and selling liquor.  On December 5, 1933, Utah became the last state needed for a 2/3 majority to ratify the 21st Amendment, repealing prohibition and restoring the nation’s right to drink, for better or worse.

We need to stop legislating morality – crimes against . . . no one . . . are not crimes at all.  Use of drugs is a victimless crime, as are gambling, prostitution, and drinking.  The crime and violence associated with the drug trade is the product of drug prohibition, just as the crime and violence associated with alcohol in the 1920’s was a product of alcohol prohibition.  When a person hurts or infringes upon the rights of another person, that should be a crime and that is what state and federal law enforcement should be focused on.  Government and laws should protect us from each other, not ourselves.

Our country has made steady progress towards ending marijuana prohibition, as more and more states and local governments legalize use of marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes.  My opinion has changed over the years.  I’ve always thought that marijuana should not be criminalized – the facts just do not justify its criminalization, and its medical benefits are now well documented.  I think that marijuana prohibition will be repealed, although I expect it will take many years and South Carolina will be the last state to get on board.

I used to firmly believe that most other drugs should be criminalized, after seeing the effects that they have on addicts and the lives and families that they destroyed.  My opinion has changed – like alcoholism or gambling, the possession and use of hard drugs should not be criminalized but we should be focusing on education and rehabilitation.  Our nation’s police departments and governments at every level need to remove themselves from the teat of forfeiture proceeds and we need to stop putting our citizens into prisons for victimless crimes.  We should not be legislating morality and our laws should exist to protect us from each other, not ourselves.

Anyone who cares about the proliferation of laws in our country criminalizing everything under the sun, the explosion of our country’s prison population over the past few decades, or the drug-related violence that plagues every community in our country, should look at these issues and speak out about them.  We need the collective will to find another way.

 

2 Responses to “Today is Repeal Day

  • Thanks for the reminder. We should all spread your wise words on this issue!

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