Twilight Zone: The US ended Alcohol Prohibition in 1933. What if it had been pot?
Cannabis was outlawed in 1937. Alcohol was legal; national Prohibition had just ended...These laws shaped our culture and society for nearly a century, in ways we’re only beginning to understand.
What if alcohol had been the substance that was banned after 1937? Would people still drink a glass of wine with dinner? Or would we pair Blue Dream with our appetizers?
Imagine: it’s 1937, and government agencies, instead of releasing a Reefer Madness video, produce a video called “Spirits Insanity.” The tagline: How alcohol rots your body, and can cause death!
Today, we know cannabis is less toxic than alcohol. It’s 114 times less toxic, according to a 2015 paper in Scientific Reports.
“Alcohol is poison”, says Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Harvard-educated M.D. who spoke at the New England Cannabis Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. (Dr. Tishler has spent the last five years researching the effects of cannabis on the human body.)
Esteemed researchers like Dr. Tischler are leading the charge towards full legalization. This movement is sweeping the world. In fact, in the June meeting of the World Health Organization, their leaders urged the reclassification of CBD and reported in November that “CBD proposes no danger to the public and has shown great promise as a seizure -reduction medication for patients with Epilepsy.” In September of 2018, the US DEA rescheduled CBD to a schedule 5 drug, so Epidolex can be distributed to Epileptic patients. It is the first non-synthetic, cannabis-derived drug to be available in the USA.
Thanks to the 54% “Yes” votes to question 4 in the 2016 election, cannabis is legal in Massachusetts. However, It’s taken the Commonwealth of Massachusetts months to put the opening regulations and rules in place for an anticipated opening day for recreational adult use before the end of the 2018 calendar year. When Cultivate in Leicester and NETA and Northampton opened for adult use business around Thanksgiving, the two dispensaries did over 2 million dollars in sales in their first five days of operation.
The medicinal program in MA, has been in place in the state for three years with just under 50,000 patients actively involved. Massachusetts now joins 8 other states that have legalized cannabis, to go with the 33 states (and Washington DC) that have some form of medical program. Billions of dollars are expected to be generated in this, pardon the pun, budding industry over the next few years in the Commonwealth. In October 2018, Canada became the first G7 nation to legalize its adult use. Capitalism, and democracy are finally reforming the marijuana laws in the US and around the world.
Now about that word…”marijuana”. It’s origin in the US is traced to a Mexican folk or slang name for the cannabis plant, but it was fueled by the media mogul and documented racist publisher William Randolph Hearst. It was his “yellow journalism” that drove the propaganda campaign that led to the 1937 Marijuana law that banned the substance with a federal law. His money backed the production of Reefer Madness, the movie that helped create the anti-cannabis culture that is still in existence today. Hearst was a businessman who owned timberland that made paper for his newspapers. His motivation was greed and racist, because he wanted to protect his holdings from the development of hemp and cannabis products he saw as only used by “immigrants and black people”. His controlling interest in newspapers created “Fake News” that targeted the already existing racist practices of that time and help solidify the laws of segregation in the south and western states known as “Jim Crow”.
So back to my opening premise that if alcohol was the drug that was banned in 1937. Let's say that the vote in 2016 was to legalize alcohol for the first time. Now, homemade stills would be the equivalent to home grown gardens. Now imagine that all those liquor stores that have dotted modern urban cities and towns for decades are so called “Pot Shops”. Local bars have been replaced by cannabis clubs and the “bar fight” would be a thing for law enforcement to deal with in the future. Restaurants would be serving cannabis infused desserts instead of rum or brandy. Napa Valley in California would be a hemp and cannabis growing community not wine. (That has already begun!)
One thing’s for sure in a modern society that is so stressed out, cannabis is finally being understood for what it has been used for over thousands of years, a holistic natural herb with many healing powers. It just might be the right prescription for a world that is more divided by hatred, racism, violence and gender discrimination since the 1960’s. Timing is everything in life, and cannabis might just be the answer to what the Doctor has ordered. It’s 2019, the cannabis revolution has already begun and there’s no turning back now.