Here’s the cover of this month’s New York magazine declaring the “End of Prohibition,” a reference to the vote by multiple states to legalize marijuana use.
There’s a lot of irony in that cover.
Yes, America seems to be moving to a more permissive legal attitude with regard to marijuana. That’s a positive development, though the federal government continues to insist that they’ll arrest those using, selling, growing or distributing the drug.
But prohibition, specifically, is alive and well in America. Marijuana is increasingly legal, but nationally smoking bans and other restrictions on tobacco use get more and more restrictive. In places like Chicago and New York local officials are working to ban fast food restaurants. In New York, the metropolis after which New York magazine is named, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been leading an prohibitionist charge against sugary drinks and salty foods, even going so far as to institute a ban on large-size soft drinks.
It’s a testament to our often schizophrenic society that, even as we move toward legalizing drugs that have long been illegal, we’re moving toward more government regulation of our lifestyles in general.