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What can the nascent legal pot industry learn from the Prohibition Era?

Beer Barrel

Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

A giant barrel of beer, part of a demonstration against prohibition in America

Liberty League Banner

General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Members of the American Liberties League parading on a horse drawn cart to protest against Prohibition, the banner reads 'Use A Little Wine For Thy Stomachs Sake' and is a quote from the book of Timothy in the Bible, circa 1925.

Moonshine Raid

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

circa 1925: Barrels lined up by the side of a road in an American town where alcohol was found and confiscated during the Prohibition.

Pouring It Away

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

circa 1920: Two men pouring alcohol down a drain during prohibition in America.

Alcohol Licences

Keystone/Getty Images

A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licences to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.

Pot

Anonymous

Gigantic traffic jams at the U.S. border to Mexico in 1969 are the result of "Operation Intercept," a campaign by U.S. President Nixon to stop the narcotics and marijuana smuggling.

Ginsberg Quotation

Sydney O'Meara/Getty Images

A poster with a quotation in favour of marijuana use by US poet Allen Ginsberg. The text reads 'The actual experience of the smoked herb has been clouded by a fog of unrespectability by the unthinking, unknowledgable few who have not smoked themselves and yet insist upon setting themselves up as centres of propaganda about the said experience'.

Pot Rally

Eric Risberg/AP

Two protesters take a drag on each other's marijuana joints during a "taste-in" sponsored by the Northern California Marijuana Growers in San Francisco, July 13, 1984. The growers' association is organizing Saturday's rally and parade in San Francisco to protest for the legalization of marijuana.

Calif.  Medical  Marijuana

Rene Macura

A staff member of the Cannabis Buyers Club walks up the stairs to the club in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on election eve on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1995 in Los Angeles. One of the propositions voters in California will decide on is whether to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. The Cannabis Buyers Club sells marijuana to patients who can prove, with a doctors prescription, that they need the product for certain medical reasons.


Recreational pot is now legal in Colorado and Washington, and similar legalization efforts are underway in several other states.

This gradual repeal of pot laws hearkens back in many ways to earlier chapters in American history, when alcohol was banned under Prohibition, but then eventually became legal.

To help explain how marijuana legalization compares with the Prohibition Era, we're joined by historian Garrett Peck., author of "Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet."


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