Pubdate: Mon, 22 Jun 2009
Source: Tribune Star (Terre Haute, IN)
Copyright: 2009 Tribune-Star Publishing Co. Inc.
Author: Alex J. Derry


I've been following the ongoing debate in the opinion section of the
Tribune-Star concerning the legalization of marijuana.

It seems as though we as Americans suffer from memory loss, or it's
possible that there are those among us who don't know American
history. He who knows not history is destined to repeat it.

On Jan. 16, 1920, the Volstead Act was enacted. The Volstead Act, also
known as The National Prohibition Act, banned the manufacture and sale
of alcohol. Prohibition became known nationally as "The Noble
Experiment" and an experiment it was. The result of the experiment was
complete and total failure. As a matter of a fact, Prohibition was one
of the most monumentally failed social experiments in the history of

Organized crime grew on an unprecedented scale as a result of the
profits made by manufacturing, importing and selling illegal booze, or
"hooch" as it was sometimes called. Murder rates in major metropolitan
areas skyrocketed and crime in general became rampant. It is often
argued that more people consumed alcohol after it was prohibited than
when it was legal.

In the latter months of 1933 Prohibition was repealed. Why? Because it
failed. It didn't work. The "Noble Experiment" failed.

Now let's look at the present. The war on drugs has been launched.
What are the results? Organized crime, fueled by ever-increasing drug
profits, has flourished. Murder rates in major metropolitan areas have
increased dramatically. Crime in general is out of control. Jails and
prisons are full and over-crowded. The United States has more of its
citizenry incarcerated than any other industrialized nation. Let
freedom ring!

So what is the, or shall I say "a", plausible solution?

It makes sense that if the huge profit margins are removed from the
product(s) the supply will undoubtedly decrease. Jail and prison
populations will decrease on a massive scale along with associated
costs of keeping people incarcerated.

I'm not in any way saying that I advocate the use of drugs, or alcohol
for that matter. However, prohibiting the manufacture, distribution,
and sale of these various substances in an effort to halt the use of
them, has and will continue to fail miserably.

Is it possible that rehabilitation, education, greater parental
efforts, increased community involvement, and spiritual growth are
factors that would drastically reduce the misuse of drugs in America?

The "war on drugs" has in the past, and continues to

The use of drugs and alcohol are merely symptoms of a much larger
problem. Maybe we, as a society, should acknowledge the root of the
problem and help to remove it, rather than make a clumsy effort at
dealing with the symptoms.

Alex J. Derry

Terre Haute
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