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Drugs and ThugsThe History and Future of America's War on Drugs$
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Russell Crandall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300240344

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300240344.001.0001

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(p.88) 7 Crackdown
Drugs and Thugs

Russell Crandall

Yale University Press

This chapter recounts how the United States in the nineteenth century permitted considerable personal freedom of choice regarding drugs, citing the idiosyncrasies of the U.S. Constitution that helped ensure potent forms of opium, cocaine, and cannabis remained widely available nationwide. It talks about how the American legal system made states responsible for regulating drugs, particularly opium and cannabis, on their own turf. It also discusses how most states and several major cities by 1910 had anti-drug laws wherein ritual police raids were a hallmark of the states' haphazard enforcement schemes. The chapter recounts the first efforts at drug control at the federal level, which were designed not to break up underground dealer networks but to regulate the runaway pharmaceutical market. It refers to the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, which simply mandated that certain active ingredients meet standardized purity requirements and forced drug makers to label in a clear way any of ten ingredients considered unsafe.

Keywords:   drugs, U.S. Constitution, anti-drug laws, police raids, drug control, Pure Food and Drug Act, purity requirements, drug makers

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