Also, a total ban on alcohol leads to people getting arrested for possession of a single beer, even though the stigma of having a criminal record is going to do someone more harm than one can of Bud Light. In one especially depressing incident, one cousin stabbed another to death over a bottle of beer, which A) might not have happened if beer wasn’t illegal, and B) is a clear sign that prohibition isn’t working. Could the truly atrocious living conditions on many reservations be contributing to incidents like that? Nah, they probably just can’t handle their firewater, right?
America’s War Against Opium Was Fueled By The Fear Of Race-Mixing
Another trend in antique drug laws is a baseless belief that minorities were stealing away white women and enabling the heinous crime of race-mixing (and implicitly, the equally heinous crime of white women not having sex with racist white dudes, even though they were totally nice guys who had their best interests at heart). Exhibit #317-B is San Francisco circa 1875, when Chinese immigrants, mostly railroad and mine workers, liked to unwind after a long day on the job by smoking opium. Hey, we’ve all been there.
The Bancroft Library
White locals accused the Chinese of taking jobs from them during a rough economic downturn (technically true, but they were performing dangerous labor for shit pay, which is the kind of job that white locals tend to turn down or not even be offered). That complaint somehow morphed into accusations that opium dens were “girl traps.” The Chinese supposedly lured white women and teens into their dens with opium-laced candy and other treats until they were addicted and willing to have sex for more, which maybe says more about the people dreaming up such accusations than anything else.
So San Francisco outlawed opium smoking in 1875. But this was a nationwide belief. In New York City in 1883, a local worrywart set up surveillance teams to keep an eye on suspected opium dens which were supposedly corrupting white women. Tellingly, this surveillance was done by people from other neighborhoods, as most local whites didn’t have an issue with their Chinese neighbors. But they called the police whenever they suspected a stranger’s vagina was in peril, and a series of raids uncovered … a 19-year-old woman. Singular. Who didn’t appear to be an addicted sex slave. Claims that girls as young as ten were escaping before the police showed up were unproven, probably because they were super-duper made up.