Hey ANC, Prohibition still does not work.

In late March 2020, South Africa made the domestic sale of alcohol and tobacco illegal nationwide as part of its public health strategy against Covid-19. A nationwide lockdown, implemented on March 25, allowed most citizens to leave their homes only to buy food, seek medical care and collect welfare grants among other basic necessities. While the rules were eased from early May – including the gradual reopening of some economic sectors – bans on the sale of alcohol, tobacco and many other products were retained, a night-time curfew was imposed and outdoor exercise was restricted to a three-hour morning window.Today we are still in a lockdown but still within limited freedoms.

A ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products, however, has already led to a tax under-recovery of more than 1.5 billion rand (approximately $90 million) last month alone, said Edward Kieswetter, the commissioner of the South African Revenue Service. The commissioner also warned of a major potential boost to the illicit trade of tobacco. But Charles Parry of the South African Medical Research Council says it’s helped free up to 5,000 trauma beds in hospital per week, and about 15 lives per day. Growing frustration with a raft of restrictions – particularly tobacco – and the extreme pressure on jobs and revenue in the sector has meant pressure has grown on government to review its lockdown rules and better justify its decision-making. Particular pressure has been put on government to explain why it rescinded its decision to allow the sale of tobacco days after President Ramaphosa announced the change.

Do the benefits of the ban – for health and society – outweigh the costs as well as unprecedented restrictions on citizens’ individual liberties? Reporter Marc Daniel Davies investigates.

Lets take a look at America’s stance on the Prohibition era, written by

Infamously, America’s federally created Cannabis Prohibition marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this August 2, 2012. The so-called ‘great failed social experiment’ of Alcohol Prohibition of the 1920s barely lasted a dozen years in effect. Rightly, it took a constitutional amendment to both ban and restore alcohol products to the free market. Is there a similar constitutional amendment for cannabis products in 1937?

No, of course not.

And that is where the sophistry, hypocrisy and duplicity begin regarding America’s modern cannabis policy of vilifying, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating cannabis consumers, cultivators and marketers.

Even though virtually every other country’s farmers have the choice whether or not to cultivate industrial hemp, even in countries where cannabis policy is decidedly worse than America’s, can American farmers prosper from cultivating this environmentally-friendly and productive crop?

No, of course not.

Do Americans support this failed, expensive and unconstitutional public policy of criminalizing cannabis?

No, of course not.

It can be readily stated, based on public opinion surveys and focus groups, that three quarters of Americans strongly support cannabis’ soft reforms: medical access and decriminalization of small amounts for personal use. And now, according to Gallup polling, fifty percent of Americans now want cannabis legally controlled in a manner similar to far more dangerous, problematic, addictive and readily available commercial products such as alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.

Most every governmental commission convened has recommended that at minimum cannabis be decriminalized for adult possession; the federal government can proffer no data or statistics indicating that their war against cannabis consumers has had any success whatsoever; America’s national security and borders are made less—not more—secure because of Cannabis Prohibition.

In response to the federal failure, currently seventeen states and the District of Columbia have chosen to abandon the federal government’s scientifically absurd and inhumane prohibition on sick, dying and sense-threatened patients who’ve permission from their physician to have cannabis in their therapeutic arsenal for relief, safety, affordability and efficacy.

Additionally, fourteen states and numerous large municipalities have rejected the federal government’s blanket prohibition on cannabis and decriminalized possession.

This election cycle, the voting public will once again have the opportunity to put serious political and economic upward pressure on a totally recalcitrant U.S. Congress and Executive Branch to end the national prohibition on cannabis when no less than five states have either binding legalization or medicalization voter ballot initiatives.

Regrettably, regardless of the political party in control or whomever president, will Congress even hold lowly sub-committee hearings to finally start the process of reforming the federal government’s out-of-touch cannabis policies?

No, of course not.

Can Cannabis Prohibition continue to prevail in a free market oriented democracy like America, where approximately one out of eight citizens are considered ‘criminals’ by their own government?

This supposed ‘criminal’ activity is nothing more than consumers making the completely logical and rational consumer decision to use an ancient herb that the DEA’s own chief law judge ruled is “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume…Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”

No, of course not.

Can this terribly wasteful, destructive, distracting, unsuccessful, constitution-warping status quo regarding Cannabis Prohibition fester much longer in America?

No, of course not.

This is made all the more difficult for American politicians to continuously embrace ‘Reefer Madness’ as more and more countries around the world—notably in Europe, Central and South America—are expressing severe frustration with America’s failed Cannabis Prohibition policies and law enforcement priorities. Currently, as many as eight countries in the Americas have pending legislation or litigation seeking to legalize cannabis in defiance of the United States.

Lastly, after all these decades of government oppression, bogus science, racist law enforcement and some industries making fortunes off of Cannabis Prohibition (think: private prisons, drug testing companies, contraband detection companies, etc…), can the cannabis plant legalize itself?

No, of course not.

Please help end Cannabis Prohibition in America (and therein around most of the world too). Please help legalize the remarkable, utilitarian, affordable and safe cannabis plant. Please do not vote for any politicians who want to continue with another seventy-five years of Cannabis Prohibition. Please join and donate to any cannabis law reform organization. Please get involved in your own liberation.

Can we succeed if we all work together in concert to end Cannabis Prohibition in our lifetimes?

Yes, of course.

Originally published by NORML.org

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