When medical and recreational drugs met

The underlying motivations for the 1908 legislation controlling opium importation and the legislation restricting sale of specific drugs in proprietary medicines came together in 1911.  There are several precedents and I will not cover them here. Suffice it to say that the Opium Act was seen as inadequate for controlling opium, and the PPM was …

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Canada’s (arguably) more important first drug law

In a previous post I provided the report from Deputy Minister of Labour, William Lyon Mackenzie King, which is often cited as instigating Canada's drug prohibition regime. Such a perspective is a distortion of the complex history of drugs in Canada. There are a few things to clarify. First, prior to 1908, most drugs that …

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What many call Canada’s first drug law

In 1907, there was a race riot in Vancouver's Chinatown. A bunch of white people, threatened by the arrival of a boat of Japanese people seeking work, rampaged through Chinatown (because racists discriminate, indiscriminately). The resulting property damage led to a commission of investigation by the Deputy Minister of Labour, a man named William Lyon …

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Drug history resources for an uncertain future

Since this blog is supposed to be about drug history, and since I've been woefully negligent in "blogging," I figured I'd take the opportunity to turn it, however, temporarily, into a teaching resource. In the next few weeks I'm going to post or link to useful resources on the history of drugs, both in Canada …

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