Types Of Business That Used To Be Illegal & Now Are Not

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The law changes and it’s true that when things are outlawed then they don’t simply cease to be in existence but rather move underground. We also find that the reverse is true when things are decriminalised or legalised then we see a rush of legitimate businesses moving to get in on the market. We can see that some of these previously banned markets are amongst the biggest in the world, let’s look at some of the key examples.

Types Of Business That Used To Be Illegal & Now Are Not


In 1920, the 18th Amendment banned the production and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. A strange quirk in the law was that although production and sale were banned it wasn’t illegal to drink it and this was probably key in the demand remaining for the product. After increased crime rate and all of the associated problems with organised crime and violence the 18th Amendment was scrapped, in 1933. We can see that long-term the industry has had no issues in being one of the largest in the country and the world.

Witchcraft & Other Religious Practices

Certain ‘alternative’ religious practices have often become the target of stigma and ultimately prohibition, witchcraft being a prime example. It was much easier to side-line people and especially women who were being problematic for a community by brandishing them as a witch. The most well-known example of this would be the infamous Salem Witch Trials in the late 17th Century where many women were convicted of witchcraft. But it was only as late as the1980s that the District Court of Virginia court ruled that witchcraft is a valid religion in the case of Dettmer v Landon, this was subsequently upheld in Federal court. We can see today that there are countless stores and businesses selling witchcraft related merchandise and even huge Hollywood films such as the Harry Potter franchise, worth an estimated $25 billion, would not be possible if witchcraft was still illegal.


A more recent example would be how cannabis is legitimised for medical use in many states and even completely legal in others. Once an illegal product it was only distributed through criminal routes but now anyone can go to a legitimate supplier such as Mission Organic Center for medicinal cannabis if need be.

Sunday Opening & Other Hours Restrictions

It used to be the case that business was not allowed on Sundays, this was only changed a few short decades ago. If you start a new business then you might think you can work as many hours as you see fit but in the past we didn’t have the same 24 hours per day, seven days a week culture and even bars were more restricted in their opening hours as it was less common to get late night licences.

What Of The Future

When we think of all of this then it’s natural to consider what is illegal today that may become mainstream in the future? Could more recreational drugs be decriminalised or legalised? Maybe assisted suicide, this is illegal in most places just now but there is growing media coverage on the campaign to make this legal.

Types Of Business That Used To Be Illegal & Now Are Not

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