“Boardwalk Empire” takes place during the violent days of the Prohibition, even though an Oct. 25 report from Salon.com states that it never was the “bloody mess” as the show depicts it. And alcohol is not the only addictive drug over which the characters fight; cocaine and heroin have been shown being sold and used by the characters. But there is one drug that hasn’t been shown yet, and that is marijuana.
During the time in which “Boardwalk Empire” is set, marijuana “wasn’t yet illegal on a national level,” writes Valerie Vande Panne.
“It was considered harmless recreation by most Americans, though some believed, spurred on by propaganda, that it was the devil’s weed, used mainly by Mexican immigrants in the seduction of good Christian white women,” she writes.
Panne also debunks how some of the real-life characters are portrayed on the show. For example, Al Capone “was not a crazed, homicidal cokehead in 1924” as she puts it.
Of all the major cities in which “Boardwalk Empire” is set, not one of them is New Orleans, which banned the drug in 1923, according to the website, HashBag. And marijuana wasn’t really considered “epidemic” in New York until the 1930s, according to druglibrary.org.
“Boardwalk Empire” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.