States Acted First
States like Maryland resisted Prohibition due to a large Catholic population. Maryland had no state enforcement law for Prohibition. Michigan's alcohol trade was second only in commerce to the auto industry in 1927. Urban cities like New York openly flaunted its law breaking with numerous speakeasies and clubs in Harlem. Connecticut, Rhode Island and Montana did not even ratify the 18th Amendment. Montana did not enforce the law within state lines. Other states began voting to not enforce prohibition, forcing politicians to listen to what the people wanted.
The same efforts are being repeated for marijuana. Twenty one states have legalized medicinal marijuana, while two have legalized recreational marijuana. More states are expected to join them with Alaska voting on a legalization initiative in on August 19th and Florida voting on medicinal marijuana in November. Politicians in Washington expect that marijuana will be legalized on a federal level, but not until 2020. In the meantime, states are not wasting any time waiting for the federal government.
Law Is IgnoredEven the President served alcohol at the White House during Prohibition. President Harding frequently served alcohol to guests including Andrew Mellon, whose department was responsible for enforcing the 18th Amendment. Many loopholes in the law were designed and well used, such as medical prescriptions for alcohol. Alcohol made from fruit was OK as well, making hard apple cider and homemade wine legal. This led to the popularity of Italian restaurants, where the food was served in houses accompanied with homemade wine. Religious wine was also exempted, making Georges de Latour and his Beaulieu Vineyards very profitable. Speakeasies proliferated. Fortunes were created. Walgreens (WAG) filled prescriptions for medicinal alcohol causing the company to expand from 20 stores in 1920 to 525 stores within 10 years. Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug according to the drug policy alliance, it is the most popular and easily accessible illegal drug in the U.S. Fifty percent of all drug arrests are for marijuana according to the FBI statistics for 2012. The FBI statistics also show that every 42 seconds in 2012, an arrest for marijuana is made. A recent government study said that over 83 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once. The National Institute on Drug Abuse said the number of people using marijuana has increased since 2007. It is endorsed by celebrities like Willie Nelson, Rapper Snoop Dog, travel guru Rick Steves and even Rush Limbaugh.