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"Fall seven times stand up eight."
Japanese Proverb
"Whenever people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government."
Thomas Jefferson
"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law."
Winston Churchill

A Brief History of Cannabis Prohibition - Part 2

By Drew Whitworth

The Victorian Era
The science of this time was characterised by its increasing desire to classify and categorise. Cannabis was thus scientifically studied for the first time by such pioneers as Dr. W. O' Shaugnessy, with his On the Preparation of the Indian Hemp or Ganja. Other scientists such as Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours and the Ohio State Medical Society catalogued the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis, remarking that it acted favourably against "neuralgia, nervous rheumatism, mania, whooping cough, asthma, chronic bronchitis, muscular spasms, epilepsy, infantile convulsions, palsy, uterine haemorrhage, dysmenorrhoea, hysteria, alcohol withdrawal and loss of appetite".

Cannabis therefore became almost trendy. Queen Victoria herself was reported to have been prescribed cannabis to alleviate conditions such as menstrual cramps. The superficial prudery of the Victorian era also did not prevent a veritable bazaar of cannabis- and opium-smoking dens (not to mention brothels) occupying the back streets of almost every city of the "Western" world.

It was not until the early part of the 20th century that the subject of controlling the use of cannabis (and other drugs) was first seriously raised. Countries such as South Africa and Turkey had banned cannabis in the late 1800s - to little effect - but there was no worldwide movement for prohibition until this time. Compared to the millennia of cannabis use which preceded this time, therefore, the actual prohibition of cannabis is the merest instant. So please don't say that laws against drug use are somehow "natural".... they're the aberration. It is to that time that we now turn.