In Charge of Our Own Bodies

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Alcohol and Marijuana have been used by humans for millennia. These two ancient substances have long shared a confused, often paradoxical, legality. Consumption of both substances, was, or is still grounds for the assessment of harsh penalties upon violators. The Volstead act was enacted in the early nineteen-twenties in an effort to reduce crime. While the Controlled Substances Act was established to control a growing drug problem at the federal level. It is a perplexing paradox that one substance remains harshly criminalized, while the other, which arguably is more dangerous, remains legal. Without a doubt, restricting consumption is sure to end up backfiring, in the process introducing crime, and expending valuable resources.

Approaching the “Roaring Twenties” the Volstead Act, prohibiting alcohol consumption, was enacted. An effort to reduce crime and dictate morals, the controversial reach of government intervention into personal life took an intrusive new twist. Initially overcoming a presidential veto, Andrew Volstead’s new act was initially popular amongst the majority. And it was effective for quite some time. Eventually, escalating crime rates, as well as an ever changing society, helped bring about its demise. Similarly, the Controlled Substances Acts’ purpose lies in enforcing the use of drugs on the federal level (Teaching with Documents).

The year is 1925, in cities throughout the nation many were enjoying their favorite past time: drinking alcohol. Alcohol was illegal, but easily accessible in the form of speakeasies’, a series of establishments which were “secretly” selling alcohol. No kept secret apparently, as some estimates report that there may have been as many as one hundred thousand in New York C...

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...der medical supervision.” Not only disturbing, this blatant lie makes use difficult and legally questionable to those who would use cannabis as medicine (U.S. Department of Justice).

In conclusion, it goes without saying that these two acts are very similar and contain some interesting paradoxes. With billions spent yearly on enforcement of marijuana use, the cost doesn’t even begin to justify the means. The vast majority of Americans are now for decriminalization, favoring fines over prison sentences. One of many consequences brought about through rough economic times was the Volstead Acts’ rescindment. As was witnessed with the end of alcohols’ prohibition, we would have much to gain. In addition to the lives lost and families destroyed, there is no way to justify this terrible onslaught on our liberties at the core level: to do what we wish with our bodies.

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