Are Prohibitionists Trying To Make the Tuccille Family Rich?

796aforbidden 595x400 Are Prohibitionists Trying To Make the Tuccille Family Rich?

I don’t really understand the prohibitionist
impulse, which is probably no surprise, considering that I work for
Reason, where I like to think the only forbidden word is
“forbid.” But I admit that I have more than a philosophical
objection. In fact, I have more grounds than most people to
understand that making things illegal doesn’t make them go away.
Provided that there’s demand for the subjects of a ban (and would
anybody bother banning something that nobody wanted?) making things
illegal creates business opportunities for those willing to work in
the shadows, and despite the law. I know this, because much of the
history of my family in the United States consists of providing
goods and services that government officials don’t want Americans
to have. So when former
Rep. Patrick Kennedy and his cronies demand that the federal
government enforce marijuana prohibition against the explicit
wishes of the residents of Washington and Colorado, I have to
wonder if my extended relations are breathing a sigh of relief. And
when a gaggle of ill-informed congresscritters cook up an
unlikely scheme for banning certain firearms and related
accessories, I peer into the background at the press
conference, looking for the familiar face of a cousin or uncle of
mine suppressing a grin.Finding business opportunities under the legal floorboards
became a family tradition soon after my great-grandfather, Giuseppe
“Joe” Marano arrived in this country. As my father documented in
his book, Heretic:
When Prohibition was imposed on the nation ten years later,
Joe’s ristorante was flourishing openly as the most
successful speakeasy in the Bronx. Marano’s Bar and Restaurant was
the place where some of New York City’s leading politicians,
including the police commissioner, adjourned to drink contraband
beverages far from the scrutiny of nosy reporters.
Giuseppe made a mint — and spent it before his son-in-law, my
grandfather — could get his hands on it. Which is why Salvatore
Tuccille was still running illegal
games along the New York City waterfront at the outbreak of
World War II. One of Salvatore’s nephews collected debts for a loan
shark — an occupation made possible by
restrictions on high-interest, short-term loans. Another
relation of mine was involved in what became known as the “French
Connection,” though I’m quite happily ignorant of the details
of that venture.Personally, at one time in my life I
“corrected” identification documents to help customers work in
accord with drinking-age laws, and I also made certain herbal goods
available at very competitive prices.Let me be clear here, that these black market businesses often
extended into other illegal ventures that weren’t so victimless.
People were bribed, extorted, hurt, robbed and more because
criminal enterprises sprang up and thrived where legitimate ones
weren’t permitted to operate — and then they extended their
reach.The idea that doubling-down on marijuana prohibition, especially
in light of
shifting public opinion, and banning “assault weapons,” also in
defiance of
widespread sentiment, will do anything other than open up
markets for the likes of Giuseppe, Salvatore and assorted others,
related to me or not, is laughable.Of course, prohibition brigs opportunity not just to those who
defy the law, but to those who take advantage of its enforcement.
My colleague, Mike Riggs,
points out that Patrick Kennedy’s prohibitionist pleading
letter was signed by “[a] coalition of interest groups whose
members profit off marijuana prohibition, including the former
leader of a chain of abusive teen rehab centers.”So, maybe it’s understandable after all. Banning things that
people want doesn’t have the slightest chance of making them go
away, but people will get rich as the powers-that-be go through the
motions.

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Are Prohibitionists Trying To Make the Tuccille Family Rich?

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