One hundred years ago today, Massachusetts Governor Eugene Foss signed into law Chapter 372 of the Acts of 1911, “An act relative to the issuance of search warrants for hypnotic drugs and the arrest of those present.” Since then, marijuana has been illegal in Massachusetts, although the voters reduced possession of a small amount to a civil infraction in 2008. Remarkably, the 1911 law was the first state prohibition of marijuana in the United States.
Despite a century of ever-zealous enforcement and thunderous propaganda at taxpayer expense, marijuana inextricably permeates our culture. Its cultivation, commerce and use have proven ineradicable. We have tried mightily and we have failed to extirpate it. If anyone, anywhere, believes that spending more money on marijuana enforcement will drive out pot, let that person come forward and tell us plainly what it will take to make that happen, how much it will cost, and where the money will come from.
The futility of enforcement, however, is not the urgent reason to legalize it. The reason is that prohibition has become a destructive force in our society.
READ MORE: 100 years of marijuana prohibition, Metrowest Daily News, April 29, 2011