Food Chain Radio News
Food Chain Radio Show #976
Michael Olson, Author & Urban Farming Agriculturalist
Why do we prohibit substances we do not want prohibited?
Guest: Bryce T. Bauer, Author, Gentlemen Bootleggers
Our two great experiments in prohibition, the Volstead Act of 1920 and the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, proved to be monumental failures, at least to their stated intentions. But that is where the story gets interesting.
Rather than eliminating alcohol and cannabis, as were the stated intentions, the Volstead and Marihuana Tax Acts, by restricting access to substances many wished to have, increased their value and lead to the development of economic food chains that relied solely on the prohibitions for their maintenance.
In the 1920’s entire communities relied on “bootlegging” alcohol from stills in the countryside to thirsty drinkers in the city. This activity became so popular it spawned its own sport, stock car racing, that thrives to this day as NASCAR.
Today the economies of many rural communities in the U.S. are maintained by the price supports of cannabis prohibition. Because of that prohibition, a plant that formerly sold for a few dollars per ton now sells for thousands of dollars per pound. And the plant can be grown almost anywhere, in almost every environment, so long as its growing is kept secret!
The monumental failures of these prohibitions, at least to their stated intentions, lead us to ask…
Why were substances as popular as alcohol and cannabis selected for prohibition?
Were the stated intentions for the prohibitions the real intentions?