The Volstead Act, which outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, came into force in the US a century ago. The move, which ushered in Prohibition, was ostensibly done for good reasons — to minimise the harm alcohol abuse was doing to society — but in the end all it did was strengthen the choke-hold violent criminal organisations had on American cities.

Prohibition outlawed the production, sale and consumption of booze in the US but, rather than stopping people drinking, it merely enriched criminals, drove the industry underground, removed safeguards and quality controls, and robbed the fiscus of taxes and excise duties. The hangover from this is still being felt today...

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