Today marks the 75th anniversary of the end of Prohibition, a convenient time to think back on another failed effort to prevent Americans from indulging in mood-altering substances. "A failed drug prohibition can cause greater harm than the drug it was intended to banish," Ethan Nadelmann of the anti-"war on drugs" Drug Policy Alliance writes in the Wall Street Journal.
People had a lot of reasons to vote for the 21st Amendment. Alcohol hadn’t stopped flowing—it had become an unsafe, illicit product funding criminal activities. And the Depression-era economy needed a lift. “There’s nothing like a full-blown recession to make taxpayers question the price of their prejudices,” writes Nadelmann. "That's what ultimately hastened prohibition's repeal."