A history of drugs and alcohol in the united states



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Table 2. Myriad Influences on Selected Drug and Alcohol Legislation in the United States

Legislation

Cultural Factors


Social Factors


Public Health Factors


Economic Factors


Political Factors

Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914

-Opiate smoking a “dangerous” Chinese immigrant custom .

-Drug dependence stymies economic growth and the military.



- Perceived sexual deviance and crime by Chinese male opium smokers.

-Fear of Cocaine-crazed southern “Negro” and potential for violence.



Addiction to opiates and cocaine in U.S. rampant among Civil War Veterans and the general public given the patent medicine industry and commercial beverages.

-Worldwide pharmaceutical industry sale of opiates.

- U.S. economic interest in Chinese markets.

- Domestic competition over control of patent medicine industry.


-Pressure on U.S. to support Shanghai Commission.

- Government concerns about “Negro” rebellion.



Volsted Act 1920-“Prohibition”

-Country enters Progressive Era of cultural and social reform.

-Alcohol Use is amoral, and against Christianity.

-Drunkenness runs counter to work ethic.


- Threatens family during Great Depression. Males squander money in saloons/taverns.

- Congressmen argue that liquor causes the “Negro” to commit unnatural crimes.

-Mistrust of non-English immigrants and their drinking habits.


-Rates of alcohol consumption per capita considered high.

-Alcohol-related domestic violence in American families.

-Increased public drunkenness.

-Increase in alcohol-related problems, e.g., worker absenteeism and injury.



-U.S. Brewers Association, German-American Alliance, local saloons lobby for its sale.

-U.S. Government’s tax on alcohol sales “constructed” as a way to curtail alcohol sales, yet it funds big portion of IRS.



-Rise of the Prohibition Party.

-Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Anti-Saloon League, labor unions, and religious groups opposed to alcohol.

-U.S. Brewers Association, German-American Alliance, saloon owners pro alcohol .


Marijuana Tax Act of 1937


-Marijuana “contrary” to Christianity.

-Culture clash between Whites and Mexican immigrant custom of marijuana smoking.



- Fear of crime and deviance in Black jazz subculture.

- Prejudice against Mexican Immigrants.

-Concern marijuana use would ruin White middle-class.

-Marijuana jazz and literary groups linked to Communism.



-Marijuana use begins in two minority communities and travels into White middle-class.

--Abuse of marijuana grows during Prohibition.

-Marijuana defined as Gateway drug to more dangerous substances.


-Marijuana caught in labor dispute in Depression Ear southwest as U.S. Congressman lobby against Mexican immigrant labor.

-At repeal of Prohibition, marijuana poses undesired market competition.



- Congressional pressure from south to control labor.

-Anslinger under pressure to justify Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN).

-FBN comes out on side of alcohol and pharmaceutical industries.

-Failure of Uniform Narcotics Act to deliver desired results.



Comprehensive Substance Abuse Act of 1970

-Cultural and social unrest due to inequities and the Vietnam war.

- President Nixon initiates cultural shift from liberal attitudes to more punitive ones.



- Concern about future of society given Baby Boom middle-class drug users.

-Suspicion that marijuana lobby was a Jewish and homosexual agenda.

-Stereotype of Ghetto junkie shattered with heroin addiction among middle-class whites and U.S. soldiers in Vietnam.


- Heroin addiction of Vietnam soldiers.

-Widespread use of many drugs across social class in the 1960s.



- Efforts to prevent drug diversion from legal pharmaceutical industry to illegal drug markets.

-Pharmaceutical industry saturating market with drugs- controls needed.



-Used to justify the power of the newly created Drug Enforcement Administration.

-Nixon’s hostility toward addicts and declaration of the first drug war.



Omnibus Drug Abuse Act of 1988

-New Era of conservatism replaces Great Society.

-Reagan and Bush declare all-out drug war. Cultural shift to zero tolerance firmly in place.



-Powder cocaine status symbol for middle-class nightclubbers.

-Crack cocaine stigma among inner-city, minority members takes firm hold.

-Growth of parent movement against youth marijuana use.


-Epidemic of powder cocaine abuse among middle-class.

-Overdose deaths of celebrities and athletes creates public health scare.

-Crack and violence epidemic among poor minorities.


-illegal market for cocaine and crack becomes very lucrative and violent.

-Drug control agencies become powerful lobby for Federal Government drug war funds.



-Presidential candidate George H. Bush uses drug issue to bury opponent Dukakis.

-President Bush pressured by major parent groups, NFP.

-Drug Czar, William Bennett’s use of bully-pulpit to set punitive goals.


Ecstasy Anti-Proliferation Act of 2003

-Zero Tolerance, punitive climate under attack due to public dismay over drug war.

-Media blitz about raves and drug use among Generations X and Y.



- Concern for truancy, addiction and victimization of very young ravers (ages 12-18).

-Promoters of illegal raves (without license) constructed as dangerous new criminal class- profits eventually attract legitimate business.



-Club drug use among youth show marked increase and health-related consequences.

-Link between ecstasy and long-term brain damage.

-Death of girl from “over-hydration” widely publicized.


-Illegal market for ecstasy and other club drugs had grown exponentially.

-Legitimate business (nightclubs) wanted piece of rave profits- brings parties inside and forces age to 21, for the most part.



-Club Drugs legislation way to invigorate support for drug war

-Senator Joe Biden takes lead on law to boost his drug war portfolio and presidential aspirations.



-After first defeat, bill tacked onto Amber Alert Act. Passes easily.


Table 3. Major State-Level Drug Policy Reforms Between 1996-2002.


STATE

Marijuana Reforms

Treatment instead of Prison

Syringe Availability

Racial Profiling

Federal Opt-Out Welfare Reform

Sentencing Reform

Felon Disenfranchisement

Forfeiture Reform

Alabama

None

None

None

1999- collect statistics for seat belt law

None

None

None

None

Alaska

1998- legal for medical use

None

None

None

None

None

None

None

Arizona

1996- doctors can prescribe marijuana for medical use

1996- non-violent drug offenders.

None

None

None

None

None

None

Arkansas

1999-passed Industrial Hemp

None

None

None

1997- partial opt-out

None

None

1999- reformed asset forfeiture laws

California

1996- legalize medical marijuana, passed industrial hemp

2000- passed treatment instead of incarceration

None

1999- bans racial profiling

None

None

None

None

Colorado

2000- legal for medical use

None

None

2001- traffic stop data collection and officer diversity training

1997- partial opt-out

2001- judges get discretion to waive man minimums for non-violent drug offenders

None

None

Connecticut

None

None

1999- allow possession of up to 30 syringes

1999- mandates traffic stop data collection

1997- total op-out for former drug offenders

2001- judges get discretion to waive man minimums for non-violent drug offenders

2001- voting rights restored to felons sentenced to probation

None

Delaware

None

None

None

None

None

None

2000- restore voting rights to felons

None

District of Columbia

None

2002-for first and second time non-violent drug offenders

None

None

None

None

None

None


STATE

Marijuana Reforms

Treatment instead of Prison

Syringe Availability

Racial Profiling

Federal Opt-Out Welfare Reform

Sentencing Reform

Felon Disenfranchisement

Forfeiture Reform

Florida

None

None

None

2001- mandate for police to develop polies to combat racial profiling

1997- partial opt-out

None

None

None

Georgia

None

None

None

None

None

None

None

None

Hawaii

1996 and 1999- supports industrial hemp, 2000-med. marijuana passes

2002- passes law similar to California

None

None

1997- partial opt-out

None

None

None

Idaho

None

None

None

None

2000- partial opt-out for former drug offenders

None

None

None

Illinois

1999, 2000- supports industrial hemp

None

None

None

1997- partial opt-out for former drug offenders

None

None

None

Indiana

None

2001- expands treatment instead prison

None

None

None

2001- eliminates certain mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenses, reforms three-strikes laws

None

None

Kansas

None

None

None

2000- mandates traffic stop data collection

None

None

None

None

Kentucky

2001- supports industrial hemp, property owners growing marijuana can’t be taxed unless convicted of a crime

None

None

2001- ban on racial profiling

1997- partial opt-out

None

None

None


STATE

Marijuana Reforms

Treatment instead of Prison

Syringe Availability

Racial Profiling

Federal Opt-Out Welfare Reform

Sentencing Reform

Felon Disenfranchisement

Forfeiture Reform

Louisiana

None

None

None

None

1997- partial opt-out

2001- several reforms regarding three strikes laws, mandatory minimums, etc.

None

None

Maine

1999- legalize medical marijuana. 2002- expansion of 1999 law.

None

1997- allows possession of up to ten syringes

None

None

None

None

None

Maryland

2000- support industrial hemp,

None

None

2001- bans racial profiling and mandates traffic stop data collection

1997- partial op-out for former drug offenders

2002- restores voting rights to some felons.

None

None

Massachusetts

None

None

None

2000- mandates traffic stop data collection

2001- total opt-out

None

None

None

Michigan

None

None

None

None

1997- total opt-out

1998- reformed 650 lifer law, 2002- several sentencing reform measures, e.g, mandatory minimum reform

None

None

Minnesota

1999- supports industrial hemp

None

1997- legalize sale of syringes at pharmacies

2001- ban on racial profiling

1997- partial opt-out for former drug offenders

None

None

None

Mississippi

None

None

None

None

None

2001-exempts non-violent offenders from requirement to serve 85% of sentence

None

None


STATE

Marijuana Reforms

Treatment instead of Prison

Syringe Availability

Racial Profiling

Federal Opt-Out Welfare Reform

Sentencing Reform

Felon Disenfranchisement

Forfeiture Reform

Missouri


None

None

None

2000- bans racial profiling and mandates traffic stop data collection

None

None

None

2001- reforms civil asset forfeiture laws.

Montana

1999- support for industrial hemp

None

None

None

None

2001-eliminate mandatory minimums for 1st time drug offenders, eliminates revocation of driver’s license for substance offenders under 21

None

None

Nebraska

None

None

None

2001-bans racial profiling and mandates traffic stop data collection

None

None

None

None

Nevada

1998, 2000, 2001- marijuana legal for medical and personal use (small amount)

None

None

None

1997- partial opt-out for former drug offenders

None

None

2001- reforms drug forfeiture laws.

New Hampshire

None

None

2000- deregulates syringes, allowing pharmacies to sell them

None

1997- total opt-out for former drug offenders

None

None

None

New Jersey

None

None

None

None

1999- partial opt-out for former drug offenders

None

None

None
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