Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Historical Research on Drug Policy

General Historical Reviews

Recommended = Recommended Reading

The Origins Of Cannabis Prohibition In California The story of how cannabis became illegal in the state of California By Dale H. Gieringer

New! The Reefer Madness Collection - Hundreds of examples of hilarious Reefer Madness from history.

Medical Marijuana Papers: 1839-1972 - Dr. Mikuriya's landmark compilation of references on the medical use of marijuana throughout history. This work was completed in 1973. Medical marijuana did not become a reality until California passed Proposition 215 in 1996.

Medical Marijuana Throughout History - Pictures of more than 100 medicines that once contained cannabis extracts

RecommendedThe History of the Marijuana Laws in the United States by Charles Whitebread - A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference. An excellent, and funny, history of how we got our current drug laws.    

RecommendedBookThe Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge: An Inquiry into the Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition by Professor Richard J. Bonnie & Professor Charles H. Whitebread, II -- The first major study ever done of the legal history of the marihuana laws.

RecommendedBookThe Drug Hang-Up, America's Fifty Year Folly, by Rufus King

RecommendedBook The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs , 1972. A good overall review of all the major drugs, and their history.

Recommended The Narcotics Bureau and the Harrison Act:  Jailing the Healers and the Sick - - By Rufus King,  From: 62 YALE Law Journal, Pages 784-7 (1953).

The History of the Opium and Cocaine Laws by David F. Musto, MD

The History of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 by David F. Musto, MD

Book From the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972

RecommendedThemes in Chemical Prohibition by William L. White, From: Drugs in Perspective, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1979

This paper presents an interesting historical review of the reasoning and arguments behind our chemical prohibition laws. It includes an interesting cartoon to illustrate the "domino" (gateway) theory of drugs, that one drug inevitably leads to another.

Not Thinking Like a Lawyer - The Case of Drugs in the Courts , by Steven Wisotsky

Excerpts from Smoke and Mirrors, by Dan Baum - A history of the drug war in modern times.

Historical Review of Opium/Heroin Production - by Alfred W. McCoy

Panic and Indifference, The Politics of Canada's Drug Laws. P.J. Giffen, Shirley Endicott and Sylvia Lambert. A few samples from a book which is an excellent discussion of the history of Canada's drug laws.

From Mr Sin to Mr Big by Desmond Manderson This is a synopsis of a history of the drug laws in Australia. It is a good demonstration of the racism behind the drug laws.

Are The Drug Laws Constitutional? A Historical Perspective From "Our Right To Drugs" by Thomas Szasz, Praeger Publishers, NY (1992):

History of Drug Use and Drug Users in the United States by Elaine Casey  -  From Facts About Drug Abuse - Participant Manual - The National Drug Abuse Center for Training Resource and Development , November, 1978 

Menu Important People in the History of Drug Policy - A collection of the writings and history of some of the more important people in the history of drug policy in the United States.

Menu The History of the Drug Laws

History of Marijuana in Canada

Drug Law Timeline - Some significant events in the history of our drug laws

A Summary of Historical Events

Menu Federal Court Decisions on Drugs 1900 to Present, by Decade

Book Marijuana - The First 12,000 Years - by Ernest Abel

MenuProhibition in Oregon - Oregon State Archives 50th Anniversary Exhibit

Lindesmith v. Anslinger: An early government victory in the failed war on drugs  - Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology; Chicago; Winter 1998; John F Galliher; David P Keys; Michael Elsner;