Why did prohibition fail in New Mexico?

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kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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New Mexico became a dry state in 1917, three years before the federal government introduced prohibition. The people of New Mexico voted in favour of prohibition by a margin of three to one because they felt that alcohol directly threatened the very fabric of life: it encouraged fighting and gambling, caused health problems and negatively impacted young people and family life. It soon became clear, however, that a number of New Mexicans would not relinquish their right to drink alcohol. Across the state, cheap, homemade alcohol remained readily available and New Mexico senators refused to lead by example. Twenty cases of whiskey, for example, were seized en route to the 1922 Republican Convention.

In addition, policing prohibition was costly and time-consuming and New Mexican taxpayers greatly resented this use of public money. They also found that prohibition had strengthened the criminal class, thanks to smuggling operations to bring alcohol across the border from Mexico . In sum, prohibition hadn't solved any of the problems that the New Mexicans hoped it would. This expensive and counter-productive experiment was brought to an end in 1933 and the state celebrated.

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