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Opium Poppy Control Act

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

Before World War II, few people in the continental United States grew the poppy seeds from which opium is cultivated. America imported poppy seeds from Europe, particularly from the Netherlands and Poland. On average, 3,000 tons were shipped to the United States per year; in 1938, the year before Hitler invaded Poland, approximately 4,400 tons were shipped to the United States. Once war broke out on the European continent, the shipments of poppy seeds to America ceased. This cessation of trade resulted in a stark rise in the price of opium, from $0.07 a pound to $0.50 a pound. The market soon responded to the overwhelming demand for poppy seeds. Beginning in late 1939, many American farmers, particularly in California, cultivated poppy seeds. Although opium ...

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