Vice Squad
Friday, April 11, 2008
Prohibition as Liberalisation

During national alcohol prohibition in the US, beverages with trace amounts -- up to .5% -- of alcohol were not banned. But what about the rule in Islam, which also prohibits alcohol? How much of a trace of alcohol is necessary before the Islamic ban is triggered? According to a fatwa issued by a prominent Egyptian cleric, the answer is --- .5%! Who knew the lasting influence of the Volstead Act? In the case of the fatwa, some are worried that the .5% limit represents a dangerous liberalisation.

The Volstead Act did not make the purchase of alcohol illegal, and even alcohol possession was quasi-legal during Prohibition. So if we were to adopt Volstead Act-like standards towards our currently prohibited drugs, that would represent a dangerous liberalisation.

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