The New York Times "Freakonomics" blog had a great question and answer post comparing marijuana prohibition and lessons that could be learned from alcohol prohibition. It’s worth reading the whole post (Henry Ford conspiracy theorists, I’m lookin’ at you), but this one part underscores something I’ve been preaching for years: Women are critical to ending prohibition.
Q: It has been said that Prohibition in the U.S. would not have come about but for the efforts of the women’s movement, but how critical were women to the repeal of prohibition? — Seano
A: Absolutely essential. When the prominent socialite and Republican Party figure Pauline Morton Sabin came out against Prohibition in 1929, the repeal movement began to pick up support. Traveling to various cities with other socially prominent, wealthy women with whom she had formed the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform, Sabin drew huge female crowds. Her example established that it was respectable for women to oppose Prohibition.
Sabin was an extraordinary woman and probably my favorite character among all the people I write about in Last Call. She was honest, forthright, fearless and willing to change her mind – qualities all too absent in our public life today.