Alcohol legalized 80 years ago today; pot backers hope their drug is next

Rob HotakainenMcClatchy Washington Bureau

Liquor lovers have something to toast today: Alcohol has been legal in the United States for exactly 80 years.

Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment, which officially ended the prohibition of alcohol in 1933.

Pot backers are celebrating the day, hoping their drug is next.

"Al Capone and other gangsters thrived when government outlawed what people wanted," said James Gierach, a former prosecutor and board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group that wants to legalize marijuana.

The group noted that the legalization of alcohol came after states demanded it. And they said Colorado and Washington state, two states that last year voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, are now leading the way with pot.

"The 1920s nicely illustrate why legalization and regulation, not decriminalization alone, are the solutions to the problems engendered by the war on drugs," said Neill Franklin, the group's executive director.


Rob Hotakainen
McClatchy Washington Bureau