Friday, February 13, 2004


A lot of people get engaged or married on this date, but tomorrow is not just a day for love and chocolate, it is also the 75th anniversary of a culminating moment in the failed attempt at alcohol prohibition. The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre of six of "Bugs" Moran's henchmen by Al Capone's minions, was not the biggest mass killing in the history of the US, but the timing and the players made it notable.

The murders are said to remain unsolved and there are apparently many reported theories. I was pretty impressed with this site's virtual Al Capone museum, offering a wealth of information on the subject. The vintage photos alone are worth the scroll through.

I think these killings may have been a turning point in the abolition of Prohibition I. It was such a graphic illustration of what violence the black market breeds that the public demanded their legislators change the laws. And they did and the majority of the consumers imbibed their gin responsibly, then and now. More importantly, the violence and health dangers associated with the underground delivery of the product were virtually eliminated.

The re-legalization of alcohol has not been totally without problems. It didn't solve alcohol abuse, nor it's accessibility to children, but neither does anyone die in a beer deal gone bad. Civil society developed social and medical solutions to address the needs of addicts and still retained a penal solution for the criminally irresponsible abusers of that substance.

There's no reason that the legalization of cannabis could not fit within this same model. The majority of cannabis consumers are good neighbors who contribute to their communities and use the plant responsibly. There is no reason to make criminals of otherwise law abiding citizens, and there's revenue to be had here.

I leave you with the words of Al Capone.

[protesting IRS claiming big sums of unpaid back tax]
They can't collect legal taxes from illegal money.


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