Chart of Illegal Drugs | A Chart of Which Drugs Were Illegal Federally Throughout US History

1880 Opium Importation from China to the US is Banned

Opium is first on our chart of illegal drugs. One way to look at this, the earliest drug ban enacted by the US Government, is as a pioneering step in the direction of government being involved in public health. This sunny interpretation, however, ignores the enormous role anti-Chinese racism played in this particular legislation. Opium was seen as a Chinese problem, and this legislation went hand in hand with a wave of anti-Chinese “Yellow Peril” style sentiment. Although that term had not yet been coined, the sentiment was there in force in 1880…..only two years later, we would see the “Chinese Exclusion Act” passed, and in 1880 itself there was an anti Chinese massacre in Denver.

Pure Food and Drug Act

Inspired by muckraking journalism in general and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle in specific, the Pure Food and Drug Act, among other things, required labelling a product when they contained alcohol, cocaine, heroin, morphine or cannabis. It also expressly forbade that implication of ingredients that weren’t in the actual product. This regulation was obviously feather light, but represented some of the first tentative…

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About The Weed Blog

Since its inception, TWB has been based in activism and the mobilization and movements for marijuana policy reform happening around the country. It was created for one purpose: to facilitate a constructive conversation about marijuana in America. This includes both medical and recreational marijuana policy, as well as the marijuana industry and culture.