Tag Archives: Prohibition

Marijuana Prohibition Ends at Last


Newspaper proclaims that prohibition of marijuana finally ends after 79 years of prohibition.


America’s decision to start legalizing marijuana has sparked much conversation about its previous decision to abolish Prohibition also known as 21st Amendment, and especially how the 1933 Cullen-Harrison Act and 2016 Proposition 64 relate. Those two referendums, respectively, were put in place to make alcohol legal in America and marijuana legal in California. California began legalizing medical marijuana in 1996, and about 20 years later, the state legalized recreational marijuana with Proposition 64 (McGreevy). California saw that other states were benefiting from taxing marijuana sales and quickly got on board. Though most of the state’s population wanted to legalize, some people still were on edge about the negative aspects of marijuana being legal. For example, marijuana can cause psychosis, affect brain development, and be a gateway drug (“California Marijuana Abuse Statistics, Rates, and Treatment.”)

Cartoonist Keith Tucker relates the legalization of marijuana to the abolition of prohibition in his political cartoon titled, “Prohibition Ends at Last!”. His cartoon reads “Marijuana now legal in Calif. Voters put an end to the 79 years of prohibition. It’s about time!” This cartoon sheds light on the new legalization of marijuana, which although welcomed by many, remains strongly opposed by others. Those supporting legalization of marijuana, like those advocating for the 21st Amendment, considered similar arguments when fighting for passage of the two laws.

The article, “California’s new legal marijuana market marks the beginning of the end for prohibition” by German Lopez explains that California’s legalization of marijuana was a long time coming (Lopez). From 57% support of Californians in 2016 to 64% support in 2018, many people are very excited about their newfound freedom using marijuana (Lopez). Moreover, California currently has the highest revenue from marijuana sales in America (Lopez). Lopez, predicts that California’s marijuana industry could be worth $5.1 billion in 2018.

For those who are for the legalization of marijuana it is easy to spot the parallels of how the 21th Amendment in 1933 and the current legalization of marijuana in California are very similar. Journalist Jonathan Boesche identifies five ways that alcohol prohibition was no different than the marijuana ban including arguments such as: 1) People will get the substance anyway; 2) Cartels will still supply people with the illegal substance; 3) Financial benefits to the public from legalization; 4) Increase of spending in the fight to keep it banned; 5) Personal liberties and people’s right to use (Boesche, Jonathan).

Each point of Boesche’s points has a parallel with arguments against the prohibition of alcohol. The power of supply and demand are evident in the cases of both alcohol ad marijuana. Suppliers know what consumers want and will sell it to them. This was evident in the early 1900’s when speakeasies opened and illegally sold alcohol to those who were willing to break the law and buy it from them. The next point Boesche brings up is cartels. If someone wants marijuana, they will find a way to get it, even if it means getting involved with drug cartels. This illegal way of getting what you want comes with other crime that goes hand in hand with cartels. Cartels are not in support of legalizing marijuana because then they would not profit on selling it illegally (Boesche, Jonathan). Boesche goes on to say that we should benefit society by legalizing marijuana and collect taxes from it. The taxes collected from marijuana would benefit the government. The government also started benefiting from collecting taxes from alcohol sales when the 21st Amendment was established. He goes on to recognize how much spending America does to fight marijuana use and how that money could be used somewhere else. We can reflect on how much we spent fighting the consumption of alcohol and see how we are repeating history by doing the same while fighting against marijuana use. Lastly, he address how the government shouldn’t be able to control what we do with our bodies as long as we don’t hurt anyone else while doing so (Boesche, Jonathan).

In California, while some people fully support the legalization of marijuana, others only support limited medical marijuana use and did not support Proposition 64. For instance, Dr. Peter Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School argues that medical marijuana can be beneficial and not even give the patient a “high.” The chemical in marijuana that induces the high is called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (Grinspoon). The strains that patients use do not contain this chemical, and if it does there is very little of if. The extract from the plant, cannabidiol or CBD, has very few intoxicating properties (Grinspoon). Patients who use this drug find relief from insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, and pain. These are just a few examples of what marijuana can help with.

Tucker’s cartoon compares California’s legal reform regarding marijuana to the days of prohibition of alcohol. Then, the 18th amendment was in place to ban the production, sale, and use of alcohol. Another cartoonist, John Knott, also discusses the ideas of prohibition through his cartoon, “Weather Forecast for Houston: Cloudy, Possibly Showers.” Both cartoonists point out how significant it would be to change the prohibitive law. Both articles draw attention to a potential new way of life with those substances being legal. The pros eventually outweighed the cons when deciding whether or not to legalize the consumption of alcohol. Tucker points out how that is currently happening in California regarding the legalization of marijuana.

Tucker’s cartoon portrays history repeating itself with the legalization of marijuana. Many states follow behind California in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. According to Governing Magazine, as of March 2018 nine states -almost one fifth of America- have legalized recreational use of marijuana (“State Marijuana Laws in 2018 Map.”) Others still focus on the negative aspects of marijuana being available to anyone of age. His, “It’s about time” political cartoons shed light on the popular topic of legalizing marijuana use in America. “John A. Boehner, the speaker of the House from 2011 to 2015, reversed a long-held stance against marijuana legalization on Wednesday, saying on Twitter that “my thinking on cannabis has evolved” (Victor, Daniel.) This is just one example of how influential people are starting to change their long standing views of marijuana.

Works Cited

Boesche, Jonathan. “5 Ways Alcohol Prohibition Was No Different Than The Marijuana Ban.” Voices of Liberty, 3 May 2016, voicesofliberty.com/2015/04/13/5-ways-alcohol-prohibition-was-no-different-than-the-marijuana-ban/.

“California Marijuana Abuse Statistics, Rates, and Treatment.” San Diego Addiction Treatment Center, sdtreatmentcenter.com/california-treatment/marijuana/.

Grinspoon, Peter. “Medical Marijuana.” Harvard Health Blog, 9 Jan. 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/medical-marijuana-2018011513085.

Knott, John. “Weather Forecast For Houston: Cloudy, Probably Showers.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News 24 May 1932. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Knott, John F., Cartoon Scrapbook. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Texas.

Lopez. “California’s New Legal Marijuana Market Marks the Beginning of the End for Prohibition.” Vox, Vox, 2 Jan. 2018, www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/2/16840600/california-marijuana-legalization.

Marijuana Legalization News and Political Cartoons, www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/directory/m/marijuana_legalization.asp.

McGreevy, Patrick. “Californians Vote to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana in the State.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2016, www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-election-day-2016-proposition-64-marijuana-1478281845-htmlstory.html.

“State Marijuana Laws in 2018 Map.” Governing Magazine: State and Local Government News for America’s Leaders, www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.

Victor, Daniel. “John Boehner’s Marijuana Reversal: ‘My Thinking on Cannabis Has Evolved’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/us/politics/boehner-cannabis-marijuana.html.

“Wets Pour It On” Dallas Morning News, 24 May. 1932. Editorial. Section 2, page 2.


Democratic National Conventions of 1928 and 1932

A man is remembering the 1928 Democratic convention regarding the “Dry-Wet Question” before going into the Democratic convention of 1932.

National political conventions are held every four years to choose a party’s candidates for President and Vice President (Berman, Russell). Conventions also are held to set platforms that articulate the party’s stance on issues. In the Democratic conventions of 1928 and 1932, a major issue discussed was Prohibition, also known at the Volstead Act, which implemented the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it illegal to buy, sell, or make alcohol. Prohibition was in place in the U.S. for thirteen years, from 1920 to 1933, until President Franklin D. Roosevelt eventually repealed it. In the debate over Prohibition the expression “wet-dry” alluded to whether a candidate was for or against prohibition. “Wet” meant the candidate wanted alcohol to be legal, while “dry” meant the candidate wanted alcohol to be illegal. This was an ongoing debate that preceded the 1928 convention and lasted through the Democratic convention of 1932.

The Democratic convention of 1928 was held in Houston (“United States History”). Hosting the convention in Texas was a big deal because it was the first time the South had hosted the Democratic convention since the Civil War (“Prohibition Repealed 1920-1933″). Alfred E. Smith was a Democrat from Houston who was an anti-prohibitionist. He was also the first Roman Catholic nominated as a presidential candidate. He wanted to destroy the Volstead Act.

During that convention Alfred E. Smith was a “wet” candidate, who supported the repeal of the 18th Amendment. Smith entered the convention with the majority of the votes. Going into the convention with this stance influenced the Democratic party to also be “wet” because of how trusted Smith was as a politician (“United States History”). Since Smith went into the convention without much competition from other Democrats, his platform was adopted as the Democratic platform for the 1928 election. Therefore, the outcome of the 1928 convention was that the Democratic party would be “wet.”

Despite the efforts of Smith, Herbert Hoover eventually won the presidency. Hoover was a “dry” Republican from Kansas City. Charles Curtis was his Vice President and also was pro prohibition alongside Hoover (“1928 Conventions”). Hoover continued to uphold the 18th amendment during his time as president.

Four years later, the national Democratic convention was held in Chicago (“United States History”). In 1932, the question of whether the candidate representing the party would be “wet” or “dry” was still up for debate. Then-New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, a “wet,” entered the Chicago convention with the majority of the votes (“Franklin D. Roosevelt”). “FDR had been a “dry” candidate, but as he built his campaign for the presidency in 1932, he agreed to become a “wet” in order to receive the Democratic Party nomination. He made a campaign promise to overturn the 18th Amendment and to legalize drinking.

“Wets Pour it On”, an editorial in the Dallas Morning News refers to the Democratic convention that would take place in Chicago in 1932 from June 27 — July 2. When Roosevelt’s campaign manager realized that his candidate could not win the presidential nomination without the votes that John Garner, a politician and lawyer from Texas had been promised, he arranged a meeting with Garner’s campaign manager to see if Garner would consider running as Vice President with Roosevelt (“John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President.”)  However, the two men took different stances on the issue of prohibition at the beginning, and that played a big role in the 1932 convention.

It wouldn’t make sense for Democrats to be “wet” when such an influential person as John Garner was “dry.”  The editorial criticized the two men’s differing political stances to the wet-dry question. Preferring to be part of the ticket, Garner decided to team up with Roosevelt in the middle of the convention. After changing his position on the issue, Garner was then nominated to run for Vice President for the Democratic party. Roosevelt and Garner both ran “wets.”  Franklin Roosevelt eventually won the Democratic nomination for President and presidency alongside Texan and current Speaker of the House, John Garner as Vice President and called for prohibition’s repeal (1932 Conventions). He did exactly what he promised to do. The results for personal liberty and the economy were immediate. FDR certainly gained an “ally” at Budweiser (“The Real Reason for FDR’s Popularity”).

John Knott’s cartoon is essentially a flashback to the same issues of prohibition that were still being debated in 1928 and 1932. The comic portrays a man looking at the sky during the previous convention in Houston saying, “It might blow over.” He is referring to the political storm over the “wet-dry” platforms of each candidate. The umbrella he is holding in his hand reads, “referendum.” It refers to the popular vote by the electorate to go “wet” or “dry”. The cartoon by John Knott, “Weather Forecast for Houston: Cloudy, Probably Shower” in the Dallas Morning News refers to the Democratic convention held in Houston in 1928. The cartoon retrospectively depicts the outcome of the Democratic Party’s stance in 1928 before their national convention in 1932 where they were still discussing what their party’s stance would be on prohibition. The accompanying editorial, “The Wets Pour It On” also from the Dallas Morning News, foreshadows the upcoming convention in 1932 based upon the outcome of the 1928 convention. In the 1932 Democratic convention the two candidates that ran together, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Garner originally ran with different stances on prohibition. This is what sparked the editorial being published.

Knott’s cartoon is a depiction of the “wet-dry” question that Democratic politicians were grappling with during their party’s presidential conventions of 1928 and 1932. This cartoon was published right before the latter convention to remind people that the “wet-dry” problem would be discussed again in the upcoming gathering in Chicago. This was significant because the Democratic party might change their stance on being “wet” or “dry” depending on who they nominated. Knott’s cartoon alludes to the “wet-dry” storm that would hopefully “blow over” at the 1928 Houston convention. Knott was poking fun at the fact that America was still not in agreement about the law against alcohol. The whole controversy ended up “blowing over” in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act which amended the Volstead Act.

Works Cited

Berman, Russell. “What Actually Happens at the U.S. Presidential Conventions?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 10 July 2016, www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/a-laymans-guide-to-the-republican-and-democratic-national-conventions/489560/.

“Franklin D. Roosevelt: Campaign Address on Prohibition in Sea Girt, New Jersey – August 27, 1932.” The American Presidency Project, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=88395.

“John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President (1933-1941).” U.S. Senate: John Nance Garner, 32nd Vice President (1933-1941), 12 Jan. 2017, www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/VP_John_Garner.htm.

Knott, John. “Weather Forecast For Houston: Cloudy, Probably Showers.” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News 24 May 1932. Newspaper. 17 April 2018.

Knott, John F., Cartoon Scrapbook. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Texas.

“Prohibition Repealed 1920-1933.” Historic Events for Students: The Great Depression, edited by Richard C. Hanes and Sharon M. Hanes, vol. 3, Gale, 2002, pp. 1-32. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3424800068/GVRL?u=txshracd2598&sid=GVRL&xid=8cf2b03a. Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.

“THE PROHIBITION QUESTION.” Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), Jul 15, 1928, pp. 1, ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/docview/162149171?accountid=7118.

“The Real Reason for FDR’s Popularity | Mark Thornton.” Mises Institute, 19 Oct. 2010, mises.org/library/real-reason-fdrs-popularity.

“United States History.” Election of 1928: High water mark for Republicans, www.u-s-history.com/pages/h893.html.

“Wets Pour It On” Dallas Morning News, 24 May. 1932. Editorial. Section 2, page 2.

“1928 Conventions.” National Party Conventions 1831-2008, CQ Press, 2010, pp. 111-113. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2145700035/GVRL?u=txshracd2598&sid=GVRL&xid=df1e0435. Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.

“1932 Conventions.” National Party Conventions 1831-2008, CQ Press, 2010, pp. 113-116. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2145700036/GVRL?u=txshracd2598&sid=GVRL&xid=fb7dca73. Accessed 21 Mar. 2018.

John D. Does a Mural for Radio City

John D. Rockefeller Jr. painting a mural representing prohibition
John D. Rockefeller Jr. painting a mural representing prohibition

John D. Does a Mural for Radio City

John Francis Knott, October 26, 1933

As the Roaring Twenties swung by with economic prosperity, cultural dynamisms, and progressivism, the law of the land prohibited the use or sale of alcohol. As Public Policy, However, Prohibition was a complete failure. Illustrating this on October 26, 1933, John Knott published John D. Does a Mural for Radio City, a complex, controversial political cartoon exemplifying the government’s condemnation of prohibition and the liquor problem.

The complexity of the drawing mirrors that of the Prohibition conundrum; Knott presents the problem – the 18th amendment – with a dry barrel and a vacant saloon (Findlaw). The said amendment was placed in effect to eliminate alcoholism and lower crime; however, it was “not free from bootlegging and liquor control evasions” (The Liquor Problem). Noticeably, Uncle Sam, whose face is stern and displeased, suggests the nation’s dissatisfaction with the 18th amendment – Prohibition generated major political controversies and conflicts of interest in the country. Additionally, complete abstinence of alcohol caused a decline in tax revenues, a greater consumption of alcohol in Speakeasies, and corruption (History.com). According to Uncle Sam, the country required a solution.

Dissecting the cartoon further, Uncle Sam stares displeased at Lady Temperance, who forces an olive branch of peace and abstinence to the government. Many political groups believed alcohol was to blame for many of society’s problems including health problems, destitution, crime, and the overall destruction of families (PBS). Uncle Sam’s expression, however is dissatisfied, exhibits aloof towards Lady Temperance’s teetotalism. He believes that Temperance has caused destruction upon the country.

In the forefront of this cartoon, Knott places John D. Rockefeller Jr. as the artist of the problematic mural. Although the Rockefeller family supported the anti-saloon league and the temperance movement, Rockefeller personally “rejects the old license system and bone dry State prohibition [and] leans toward a State dispensary”(The Liquor Problem, Rockefeller). Therefore, Rockefeller commissioned the Fosdick-Scott survey to notify those in favor of the alcohol regulation. It stated, “Integrity and intelligence are of far greater importance than the administrative device” and reminded readers, “No dispensary system can exist when politics and graft handle it” (The Liquor Problem). The survey was a devise used to inform the public—providing a template for alcohol control (Serendipity). This controversial stance and survey of Rockefeller follows his controversial actions he displayed while constructing Radio City Music Hall (NPR). Humorously, Knott cleverly interjects the inappropriate mural removed by Rockefeller due to dissimilar visions between Rockefeller and renowned artist, Diego Rivera (New York Herald).

In summary, Knott exemplifies the country’s controversial liquor problem by illustrating Rockefeller’s position: America declines in social and economic status for each day held in prohibition. Exploiting Rockefeller’s views enlightens the public of Prohibition’s effects on the country. Although as controversial was his decision to remove Rivera’s mural, Rockefeller still painted the scenery to permanently end prohibition.


“Destroyed By Rockefellers, Mural Trespassed On Political Vision.” NPR. NPR, 9 Mar. 2014. Web. 05 Nov. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2014/03/09/287745199/destroyed-by-rockefellers-mural-trespassed-on-political-vision>.

“Eighteenth Amendment – U.S. Constitution – FindLaw.” Findlaw. Thomson Reuters, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2015. <http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment18.html>.

“The New York Herald.” New York Herald Tribune May 10, 1933. THE NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 10 May 1933. Web. 05 Nov. 2015. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma04/hess/rockrivera/newspapers/NYHerald_05_10_1933.html>.

“Prohibition.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 05 Nov. 2015. <http://www.history.com/topics/prohibition>.

“Prohibition.” PBS. PBS, 2011. Web. 05 Nov. 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition/roots-of-prohibition/>.

Rockefeller, John D., Jr. “Note.” Letter to Nicolas Murray Butler. 6 June 1932. Http://www.drugpolicy.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2015. <http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/RockefellerLetter1937.pdf>.

“Serendipity.” Serendipity. Merge Divide, 26 June 2007. Web. 05 Nov. 2015. <http://dgrim.blogspot.com/2007/06/great-scheme-alcohol-based-fuels-ford.html>.

“The Liquor Problem.” America’s Historical Newspapers. Dallas Morning News, 26 Oct. 1933. Web. 5 Nov. 2015. <http://infoweb.newsbank.com.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/iw-search/we/HistArchive/HistArchive?



What Now?!!


political cartoon picture 2
Uncle Sam’s political view on the Prohibition of Marijuana

As America ventures towards the legalization of marijuana, many political cartoonists boost their agenda by associating their political itinerary with American history. Specifically, Prohibition is widely used amongst cartoonist due to its well-known details and final 1930s decision that creates an easy analysis or similarity to the reader. Cartoonist, Keith Tucker, poses the controversial question, “what now?!!” to question America’s next step towards the legalization of marijuana.

Dr. Keith Martin states, “The “war on drugs” has done nothing to reduce illegal drug use, crime, harm, or cost.” Tucker compares prohibition to today’s marijuana problem. He portrays that the government’s decision to legalize marijuana will diminish the negative activities, which were caused by the prohibition of marijuana. He acknowledges, “Prohibition has failed [and] its time to legalize [marijuana] in America.” Similarly to those during the 1930s, he accents the effect that illegal marijuana has currently on the states – cost to the states and corruption – similar to the negative effects of the prohibition of alcohol (Martin). As Tucker lists the negative consequences, he implies the positive impact associated with the legalization of marijuana: cutting the cost to fight marijuana from the Country’s budget and the gain in tax dollars to stimulate the economy. He implies how States could tax the sale of marijuana as they do with alcohol and tobacco. For example, after Colorado legalized marijuana and implemented a tax, Colorado collected seventy million dollars in taxes after one year while alcohol only collected 42 million (Basu). This shows the significant advantage of ending the prohibition on marijuana. Ending prohibition of marijuana can save tax dollars that could be used in more beneficial ways to stimulate our economy. Additionally, the 21st amendment ended the major corruption associated with prohibition. Cartoonist, John Knott exposed the negative effects caused by prohibition in the cartoon John D does a Mural for Radio City. He claimed that America’s desire to eliminate the prohibition of alcohol decreased the number of bootleggers, speakeasies, gang violence, and other illegal activities (Van Essen). Similarly, the end of marijuana prohibition could dampen these social problems.

Tucker explicitly presents Uncle Sam stating, “It’s time to legalize it, America!” He notes that millions of American citizens have several uses for marijuana – from recreational uses to known medical value. Statistically, “over 94 million people in the US have admitted using it at least once (Marijuana).” So again, “what now?!!” Research has proved that the THC in marijuana helps with diseases such as multiple sclerosis, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, seizures, and Crohn’s disease (Feature). These various uses of marijuana tie back to tax profits, utilizing marijuana as a medical use may increase the total revenue collected.

In summary, Tucker highlights the progressive points that rise from dismissing the prohibition of marijuana. His title expressing, “what now?!!” is appropriate now as several states have legalized marijuana. Moving forward and following the history of the prohibition on alcohol, it seems as history may repeat itself with yet again another failed attempt on prohibition.


 Basu, Tanya. “Colorado Raised More Tax Revenue From Marijuana Than Alcohol.” Time. Time, 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. <http://time.com/4037604/colorado-marijuana-tax-revenue/>.

Feature, Anne HardingWebMD. “Medical Marijuana Treatment Uses and How It Works.” WebMD. WebMD, 04 Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. <http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/medical-marijuana-uses>. 

“Marijuana Statistics – Cannabis Use Statistics – Drug-Free World.” Marijuana Statistics – Cannabis Use Statistics – Drug-Free World. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. <http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/marijuana/international-statistics.html>.

Martin, Keith. “Decriminalize Pot, Destabilize Gangs.” Cannabis Culture. Cannabis Culture Magazine, 13 Apr. 2009. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. <http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2009/04/13/decriminalize-pot-destabilize-gangs>. 

Tucker, Keith. “What Now Cartoons Archives – by Keith Tucker.” What Now Cartoons Archives – by Keith Tucker. KTC@whatnowtoons.com, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. <http://www.whatnowtoons.com/wnt_archives.asp?.

Van Essen, Dane. “John D. Does a Mural for Radio City.” Web log post. Ut Libraries Blog. University of Texas at Austin, 5 Nov. 2015. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. <http://blogs.lib.utexas.edu/nonaka/page/3/>