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Anti-Drug War Movement

  • By: Nicolas E. Eyle
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

With the exception of one or two local attempts at alcohol prohibition all drugs were legal in America from its inception until the early 20th century. The earliest anti-drug laws were typically small, localized, efforts targeted against various minority groups such as the anti-opium laws targeting Chinese on the west coast or the anti-marijuana laws aimed at Mexicans in the southwest, and so generated little attention among other Americans. There was a small opposition movement confined primarily to lawyers and constitutional scholars who saw the inherent problems with drug prohibition and wrote about them, but their work was largely limited to occasional articles in law journals and other non-mainstream publications. As far back as 1953, Rufus King, the chairman of the American Bar Association Committee ...

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