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Why Did Prohibition Require a Constitutional Amendment?

Posted on 07/23/2002 9:06:57 AM PDT by Maceman

I have been wondering lately how come the US Government needed a constitutional amendment to outlaw alcohol, but did not need one to outlaw marijuana and other drugs.

Can any scholarly Freepers explain this to me? As always, your briliant insights, cogent reasoning, encyclopedic historical knowledge and smart-assed remarks wlil be eagerly appreciated.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: constitution; prohibtition; wod
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1 posted on 07/23/2002 9:06:57 AM PDT by Maceman
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To: Maceman
An excellent question... I'd like to hear an answer or at very least a theory.
2 posted on 07/23/2002 9:09:04 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: rhombus
By the way - "briliant" = "brilliant." I can spell. I just can't type.
3 posted on 07/23/2002 9:10:10 AM PDT by Maceman
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To: Maceman
Because Prohibition was adopted before the Supreme Court had interpreted the Constitution's commerce clause ( Art I, sec. 8) to allow Congress to regulate goods that had not crossed state lines.
4 posted on 07/23/2002 9:10:16 AM PDT by spqrzilla9
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To: Maceman
I'm no expert on this, but didn't Prohibition outlaw drugs as well as alcohol? WHen Prohibition was rescinded, I think only alcohol was made lagal again. Other substances were still illegal. Can anyone else confirm this?
5 posted on 07/23/2002 9:11:10 AM PDT by doc30
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To: Maceman
Prohibition started way back when, before congress gave in to FDR's twisted interpretation of the commerce clause. Had it occured later they would have used the commerce clause to justify it, and we wouldn't have had an ammendment.

For more on the commerce clause buffoonery see KIDS, GUNS, AND THE COMMERCE CLAUSE: IS THE COURT READY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT?
6 posted on 07/23/2002 9:12:08 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: spqrzilla9
We have a winner!
7 posted on 07/23/2002 9:12:13 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: Maceman
It may have something to do with the fact that the Constitution was once a document that actually meant something and carried some weight. The feds know what they can get away with these days. We started down the slippery slope just after WW II, and it gets a bit worse every year.
8 posted on 07/23/2002 9:12:56 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: doc30
The Volstead Act only pertained to alcoholic beverages, and only to the manufacture, sale, and transportation thereof. Possession and use remained legal.
9 posted on 07/23/2002 9:13:22 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: Maceman
Because... they actually respected the Constitution back then?
10 posted on 07/23/2002 9:13:37 AM PDT by inquest
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To: doc30
I beleive Marijuana was made illegal during the Korean conflict.
11 posted on 07/23/2002 9:14:22 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: doc30
I'm no expert on this, but didn't Prohibition outlaw drugs as well as alcohol?

Nope; the Eighteenth Amendment referred specifically to "intoxicating liquors". Not even Bill Clinton could redefine that as a reference to drugs in general.

12 posted on 07/23/2002 9:16:24 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: AdA$tra
it was made illegal under federal law with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, though some states had passed laws previously
13 posted on 07/23/2002 9:16:48 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: WindMinstrel
I stand corrected.
14 posted on 07/23/2002 9:17:59 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: Maceman
I believe it's in the BECAUSE WE SAY SO Clause....
15 posted on 07/23/2002 9:19:26 AM PDT by Lexington Green
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To: AdA$tra
I correct posts on FR because it makes me feel smart. If I don't see enough factual errors, I just correct spelling and grammar :P
16 posted on 07/23/2002 9:19:28 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: AdA$tra
The first marijuana law was passed in 1937. Interestingly, the Gov't still respected the Cosntitution enough to ban it in the form of a tax law (thus, it was known as the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act). Harry J. Ainslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics boys were really in a quandary over how to get this accomplished without raising the dreaded "P" word (Prohibition, which, when repealed, coincidentally put ol' Harry out of a job), but were ecstatic to find precedence for passing a law requiring a Tax Stamp for an item, and then refusing to issue the Stamps, thereby de facto outlawing said item. The model which they were so happy to discover was the Machine Gun Tax Stamp from a few years earlier.
17 posted on 07/23/2002 9:20:28 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: Maceman
Because we had a Constitution back then.
18 posted on 07/23/2002 9:21:29 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: NC_Libertarian
FMI
19 posted on 07/23/2002 9:21:30 AM PDT by NC_Libertarian
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To: AdA$tra
The first law against cannabis was the Tax Stamp scam, 1937. You could grow it if you paid for the stamp.

One of the first to try applied for the stamp and was told he couldn't get the stamp until he had his crop grown. He grew it, came back in the fall for his stamp, and they threw him in jail for 4 years for growing it without the stamp. Anslinger made Hoover look human by comparison.
20 posted on 07/23/2002 9:22:15 AM PDT by steve50
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To: Maceman
I this day and time, the constitution doesn't matter if the gov't wants to do social engineering.

Can't ban guns? Make them very costly and hard to get, sue the manufacturers, work toward banning all but gov't approved firearms, throw up every roadblock you can.

Don't want smokers? Raise taxes, sue the tobacco makers, vilify and belittle smokers.........

Don't want SUV's?.............

21 posted on 07/23/2002 9:23:49 AM PDT by umgud
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To: Wolfie
When did Coca Cola take the "coke" out of Coke?
22 posted on 07/23/2002 9:25:27 AM PDT by ken5050
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To: steve50
bump
23 posted on 07/23/2002 9:26:29 AM PDT by bassmaner
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To: WindMinstrel
It appears I may have been more right than wrong. The Boggs Act of 1951 and the Daniels Act of 1956 were where MJ use was criminalized. From '37-'51 you merely needed tax stamps to posess it.
24 posted on 07/23/2002 9:27:57 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: AdA$tra
posess = possess: There is your spelling error
25 posted on 07/23/2002 9:30:55 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: ken5050
1903
26 posted on 07/23/2002 9:32:15 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: AdA$tra
NOOOOOOOO! It doesn't count if you find the spelling error! I have to find it and loudly denounce you for it!
27 posted on 07/23/2002 9:32:55 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: WindMinstrel
Nit wit, there's only one "O" in "NO".
28 posted on 07/23/2002 9:33:48 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: Wolfie
LOL!!
29 posted on 07/23/2002 9:35:11 AM PDT by FreeTally
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To: rhombus
Thanks,and a very good question. I'm looking forward to this thread,since accurate and cogent knowledge is always useful.
30 posted on 07/23/2002 9:35:44 AM PDT by sawsalimb
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To: Wolfie
You hurt my feelings! You made me sad. Don't you know I have a right to not be sad? Fie on you.
31 posted on 07/23/2002 9:36:05 AM PDT by WindMinstrel
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To: Maceman
MaryJane is legal under certain conditions in Alaska.
Where does the federal law kick in?
32 posted on 07/23/2002 9:38:09 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
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To: Maceman
Because back then we still had a valid Constitution.
33 posted on 07/23/2002 9:43:14 AM PDT by brityank
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To: sawsalimb
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/index.HTM

Lot of good info at schaffer if you want some reading
34 posted on 07/23/2002 9:43:29 AM PDT by steve50
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To: WindMinstrel
Fie on you

Sicking those bastards on me, are you? Now I have to constantly keep watch for Frenchman with epees. I swear, I'll get you for this.

35 posted on 07/23/2002 9:47:15 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: Maceman
Just a guess...

Because the teetotalers were getting nowhere at the local level?
36 posted on 07/23/2002 9:47:31 AM PDT by Desdemona
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To: Maceman
You can add the 19th ammendment to the list- Women's sufferage. Many States and Counties already gave women the right to vote before the ammendment was passed.

I also have questions about the need for the 24th. Preventing a poll tax could have been done via federal law.

Also the 26th, lower the voting age to 18. Not because federal law could have allowed this, it justed turned out to be a stupid idea.

37 posted on 07/23/2002 9:52:01 AM PDT by 11th Commandment
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To: Maceman
After FDR the government decided it didn't need to amend the constitution every time it wanted to make a stupid socialistic expansion of the government. With the recent revealation that even Reagan raised taxes I must conclude we haven't had a conservative President since Coolidge.
38 posted on 07/23/2002 9:52:04 AM PDT by weikel
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To: AdA$tra
The thing is you needed the marijuana in hand to get the stamps thus you were already breaking the law.
39 posted on 07/23/2002 9:52:59 AM PDT by weikel
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To: steve50
Thanks-need to do some research.
40 posted on 07/23/2002 10:06:06 AM PDT by sawsalimb
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To: sawsalimb
I also recommend this online book:

Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

Its an entertaining read, with lots of historical tidbits thrown in.

41 posted on 07/23/2002 10:12:19 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: Wolfie
The first marijuana law was passed in 1937. Interestingly, the Gov't still respected the Cosntitution enough to ban it in the form of a tax law (thus, it was known as the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act). Harry J. Ainslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics boys were really in a quandary over how to get this accomplished without raising the dreaded "P" word (Prohibition, which, when repealed, coincidentally put ol' Harry out of a job), but were ecstatic to find precedence for passing a law requiring a Tax Stamp for an item, and then refusing to issue the Stamps, thereby de facto outlawing said item. The model which they were so happy to discover was the Machine Gun Tax Stamp from a few years earlier.
Both of these laws were, as mentioned, passed to give the Prohibition bureaucracy something to do. "Unintended Consequences" has an excellent review of the (non)constitutionality of the 1934 Gun Control Act.

-Eric

42 posted on 07/23/2002 10:15:39 AM PDT by E Rocc
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To: Wolfie
And an R.I.P for the author of it.
43 posted on 07/23/2002 10:24:06 AM PDT by sawsalimb
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To: weikel
The thing is you needed the marijuana in hand to get the stamps thus you were already breaking the law.

Hence my original supposition that we started down that slippery slope around the WW II era.
44 posted on 07/23/2002 10:24:38 AM PDT by AdA$tra
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To: Maceman
This question is not as easy as one might suppose. The Harrison Narcotics Control Act, which criminalized most possession and sale of opiates and cocaine, was passed in 1918 -- the same year as the Eighteenth (Prohibition) Amendment.

I've slapped the histories around until I'm tired, and I can't find anywhere a rationale for the Constitutionality of the Harrison Act, without an equivalent of the Eighteenth Amendment.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com

45 posted on 07/23/2002 10:26:35 AM PDT by fporretto
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To: Maceman
This almost sounds like you're setting up the drug warriors here. But I like this approach. The burden is on them to show why one needed a Constitutional amendment and not the other.
46 posted on 07/23/2002 10:27:28 AM PDT by Conservative til I die
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To: doc30
No. Prohibition had nothing to do with drugs. Drugs had been banned piecemeal by various Congressional acts.
47 posted on 07/23/2002 10:28:19 AM PDT by Conservative til I die
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To: Wolfie
Wolfie, a question. Wouldn't posession and intake of alcohol in all practice be illegal, since you couldn't buy, sell, make or transport it? Was this the FedGov being coy and saying "We're not really taking away your freedom."

Unless you are talking about religious exemption for the Catholic Eucharist.
48 posted on 07/23/2002 10:30:00 AM PDT by Conservative til I die
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To: AdA$tra
Not actually it was around the WWI era the communist Woodrow Wilson layed the groundwork for big government with the income tax and the fed.
49 posted on 07/23/2002 10:31:14 AM PDT by weikel
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To: steve50
So what you're saying is that our government was and still is corrupt, bullying, thoughtless, and power hungry?
50 posted on 07/23/2002 10:31:16 AM PDT by Conservative til I die
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