In the nineteen twenties America was embroiled in a dark age, borne of a dangerous brew of politically minded churches, overly ardent politicians, and public apathy. The "dark age" of prohibition, one of America's greatest blunders, bears striking resemblance to the modern "War on Drugs." These two abridgments share not only similar aims, and methods, but were borne of similar circumstances, by similar forces.
Studies by eminent doctors and scientists, from Dr. Samuel Allentuck, to Mr. Herbery Asbury, have come to the conclusion that both prohibition, and the "War on Drugs have been brought about by overly zealous politicians. Most say that the politicians had a fundamental lack of understanding of the scientific facts regarding the issues they legislated.
Many politicians, including future president Warren Harding supported prohibition publicly, while privately abhorring it (Asbury). They saw that the increased consumption of alcohol ("increasing" from 7.1 Gal. Absolute alcohol per capita in 1810, to 2.5 Gal. in 1910 (Lender, Martin Appendix)) leading to families in which fathers were abandoning their families for the bottle (Lender, Martin 107).
Politician's views were also skewed by false "science." During the early part of this century, numerous "scientific" studies concluded such things as "inebriate and moderate drinkers are the most incapable of all persons to drive a motor wagon" (Lender, Martin 108). These "studies" lead to politicians making ill informed decisions with regard to alcohol.
Drug law has been formed by many of these same forces. Misunderstandings of science, and political ambition have been as influential in the shaping of the "War on Drugs" as they were in shaping prohibition.
Scientists around the world have written volumes and volumes on the effects of marijuana. All of them point to one thing. Marijuana has negligible if any harmful, long-term side effects.
The Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission stated numerous times that Marijuana is perfectly safe. The report affirmed that "Ganga [marijuana] is not appreciably harmful." This, often referred to as the most in depth study on marijuana ever written, called it "one of the most valuable medicines we possess."
The Mayor's Committee on Marijuana (LaGuardia Committee) also gave marijuana a clean bill of health. This report found the most noticeable effect to be a vastly heightened sensory awareness. The report noticed slightly slower motor response time in drugged subjects, however it was minor and well within the study's margin of error. The report also noticed a slightly lower drive to succeed in subjects after taking small doses (under 3cc of THC) of marijuana, however it also noticed this went away in those taking larger doses (over 5cc of THC). This report also noticed no mental deterioration in long-term users. The study further noticed marijuana users to be vastly less prone to violence than non-users.
Despite numerous scientific...