By Susan C. Walker
Marijuana and the War on Drugs: How It All Might End
The story of Prohibition after the 1929 stock market peak is a model for how the current crisis in Mexico and the U.S. is likely to play out. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Chicago streets ran red with the blood of victims connected to the alcohol industry. In a quest for territorial control, gangs expanded bootlegging operations beyond Chicago, with Capone’s reach eventually extending into Florida. As bootlegging routes grew, so did associated violence. A few defenders of Prohibition steadfastly supported The Untouchables, but in time, the majority of the public simply grew fed up with the criminal warring and the corruption, violence, and death associated with law enforcement efforts. In the end, public mood demanded change and Prohibition was repealed.
Some will argue to step up the Drug War and start mass executions. But as mood falls and the death toll among Americans rises, the public will become open to what now may seem like radical ideas about how best to deal with marijuana use in society. The dialogue about marijuana decriminalization will cease to center on morality and instead will shift to stopping the kidnapping, murder, brutality and bloodshed. Finally, the people and their government will end the Drug War.
In the two years since Wilson wrote this article, Mexico has suffered hundreds of deaths related to drug smuggling, while more U.S. communities have decided that medical marijuana is acceptable. The takeaway message from this story in The Socionomist is that the same social mood that drives the stock market also plays a significant role in popular attitudes regarding the prohibitions against drugs and alcohol.