Wednesday, January 16, 2013

US Prohibition Day


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By Diane Forrest

My son recently took a new job and had to move to a different town 45 miles away, although he is still located in the state.  After moving into his new home, he wanted to pick up a bottle of champagne to celebrate with his wife.  As he drove around the town, he couldn't locate a liquor store.  He quickly learned that the town he had just moved to was located in a dry county.  This did not prove too much of a problem, as the nearby county where alcohol could be sold, was only a couple of miles down the road.
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The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the manufacture, sale and importation of intoxicating liquors, was ratified on 16 January 1919.  The proponents of prohibition had believed that banning alcoholic beverages would reduce or even eliminate many social problems, particularly drunkenness, crime, mental illness, and poverty  Some supporters also believed that prohibition would eventually lead to reductions in taxes, since drinking "produced half the business" for institutions supported by tax dollars such as courts, jails, hospitals, almshouses, and insane asylums.  In fact, alcohol consumption and the incidence of alcohol-related domestic violence were decreasing before the 18th Amendment was adopted. Following the imposition of prohibition, reformers "were dismayed to find that child neglect and violence against children actually increased during the Prohibition era."
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During Prohibition, people continued to produce and drink alcohol, and bootlegging helped foster a massive industry completely under the control of organized crime. Drinking in speakeasies became increasingly fashionable, and many mothers worried about the allure that alcohol and other illegal activities associated with bootlegging would have over their children.  An estimated $861,000,000 was lost in federal tax revenue from untaxed liquor; $40 million dollars was spent annually on Prohibition enforcement.
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In 1933, Prohibition was repealed, and by 1966, all states had repealed their state-wide Prohibition laws, with Mississippi the last state to do so, and there are still 200 counties that still remain "dry".
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In November, Washington State approved the use of Marijuana in their state.  With the history of Alcohol, prohibition, speakeasies and mobsters, this makes me wonder what the future holds for the Drug Lords, war on Drugs and the use of Marijuana.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

P.S. from the boss – can and will America learn from the past or will they head down this road once again? New Gun controls come to mind.

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