Sunday, February 19, 2017

Alcohol Prohibition spawned Mexico’s oldest drug cartel [Updated for 2017]

Those old enough to remember Prohibition in the U.S. remember it as a controversial and violent era. The Eighteenth Amendment and Volstead Act, passed by Congress in 1919, prohibited the manufacture and sale of “intoxicating liquor” for recreational use. Prohibition took effect in January 1920, but its effects will still be felt in 2020.


The alcohol ban, long championed by the temperance movement, was enacted with the intention of simultaneously lowering the crime rates and social ills like alcoholism in the U.S. However, it’s often said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Instead of solving problems, the great social experiment of alcohol prohibition wreaked havoc on communities nationwide.

A study of over 30 major US cities showed crime had risen by 24 percent between 1920 and 1921, including a 13 percent rise in homicides and 45 percent increase in substance addiction. Another unintended consequence was the major boost Prohibition provided for organized crime. This phenomenon was a matter of simple economics: Americans wanted to drink.

Following the Law of Supply and Demand, people from all walks of life created a demand for liquor and criminal organizations supplied that demand through the production and distribution of contraband liquor. These crime groups were willing and able to resort to the necessary corruption and violence against law enforcement and rival alcohol cartels in order to protect their lucrative trade.

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