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|Is Marijuana the Bootleggers’ 21st Century ‘Moonshine’?|
|News Releases - General Info|
|Written by Ginny Grimsley|
|Friday, 11 January 2013 14:01|
Prohibition Researcher Cites Historic Parallels
Whether they realize it or not, residents of Colorado and Washington have traveled back in time – 80 years, to be exact.
The first two states to decriminalize recreational marijuana are sharing in the national experience of 1933: the end of Prohibition. And the similarities are uncanny, says Prohibition-era researcher and author Denise Frisino.
“As with Prohibition and the criminalization of alcohol production and sales, after marijuana possession was banned in 1937 there were many unintended negative consequences,” maintains Frisino, author of “Whiskey Cove,” (www.whiskeycovebook.com), a novel based on firsthand interviews with Prohibition-era bootleggers in the Pacific Northwest.
“The most obvious is the proliferation of corruption and organized gangs. After Prohibition became effective in 1920, America saw the rise of unprecedented crime.”
And, as was true in the 1920s, increasing crime means a greater need for – and expenditures on – law enforcement and judicial services. Enforcing the Prohibition cost the federal government more than $300 million.
In the interest of learning from history, Frisino cites these additional parallels to Prohibition and our contemporary problems with criminalized marijuana:
The Prohibition era holds valuable lessons about the unforeseen outcome of criminalizing “vices,” Frisino points out. Rather than reducing alcohol consumption, which was the goal, it actually increased from 1929 to 1933, she says. In addition, legitimate jobs and businesses were destroyed and even restaurants and other entertainment businesses suffered.
“History teaches us that going about change by criminalizing certain behaviors can have a very negative impact on society,” Frisino says.
About Denise Frisino
Denise Frisino is an award-winning writer, actress and arts teacher. She has spent her summers playing and working in the numerous islands that define the Pacific Northwest, where her family spans four generations. Frisino and her husband spend time at Hood Canal and reside in Seattle. Her novel, “Whiskey Cove,” is a nominee for the 2013 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award.
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