America has tried it before and will no doubt try it again. One "Noble Experiment" was the Volstead Act proposed by resolution of Congress on December 18, 1917, that became the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution in January, 1919, and forbade the sale of alcoholic beverages after January, 1920. What followed was the most widespread, uncontrollable period of lawlessness this nation had seen up until the War on Drugs was initiated by President Richard Nixon in 1972 in an attempt to cover up the misdeeds of his failing presidency.
The fact that the Eighteenth Amendment is the only amendment to our Constitution that has ever been repealed because of the disastrous effects of Prohibition seems lost in today's world. The resolution to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment was proposed in Congress on February 20, 1933. In an extraordinarily short time, 36 states ratified the Twenty-first Amendment to repeal and it was certified by the Acting Secretary of State on December 5, 1933. Thus ended the Prohibition with regard to alcohol. But those puritanical souls who know better than we how to live our lives, and who would reform our morals by force of law, were only temporarily discouraged.
Would that our government could now act to undo the calamities of the War on Drugs within a year. And it is not the attempt by the government to control particular substances that has proven so horrendous, it is the many violations of our civil liberties that the government has found "necessary" to combat the problem that exists largely of the governments own making. From R.I.C.O. and asset forfeiture laws that allow, nay encourage prosecutors and U.S. Attorneys to finance themselves like Mexican bandits, to the largest prison population in the world, our drug war has been an unmitigated and incredibly expensive social disaster.
What follows are essays by a senior federal judge, newspaper accounts, individuals, 1 and other information on the social costs of combatting an "evil" that didn't exist until the government created it. However, there is no better exposure of the fallacy of the widespread delusion that we can solve a problem by passing laws than the War on Drugs. As Judge Kane says: "At the present time, our national drug policy is inconsistent with the nature of justice, abusive of the nature of authority and ignorant of the compelling force of forgiveness. Our drug laws, indeed, are more mocked than feared."