For example, when Congress was debating marijuana prohibition in 1937, Dr. William C. Woodward, president of the American Medical Association, argued strenuously against it. Dr. Walter Musto, the assistant Surgeon General, told Congress marijuana “does not produce dependence … it probably belongs in the same category as alcohol.”
Sadly, as is often the case, Congress was more susceptible to political rather than economic and scientific considerations, so marijuana prohibition was enacted.
Marijuana is safer than alcohol
But Dr. Musto was wrong. Marijuana does not belong “in the same category as alcohol.”
• Marijuana doesn’t cause cirrhosis. Alcohol does.
• Marijuana doesn’t cause cardiomyopathy, dementia or pancreatitis. Alcohol does.
• Marijuana doesn’t cause cancer of the stomach or esophagus. Alcohol does.
• Ingesting too much alcohol at one time can induce a coma and cause cessation of breathing and death. There is no known overdose level of marijuana.
• True, some studies show marijuana can cause harmful effects on the young, developing brain. But the same has been known for years about alcohol’s effects on the developing brain.
If Dr. Musto knew in 1937 what we know today, he probably would have said marijuana is safer than alcohol.
Prohibition was (and still is) a disaster
History also teaches us that prohibition never, ever works. Prohibition turns otherwise law‐abiding people into criminals, undermining respect for the law and our institutions. It turns thuggish black‐market profiteers into billionaires who prey on our young and settle intramural disputes through violence.