The War On Drugs, at least as the federal level, arguable started 100 years ago this week:
On February 9, 1909, Congress passed the Opium Exclusion Act, barring the importation of opium for smoking as of April 1. Thus began a hundred-year crusade that has unleashed unprecedented crime, violence and corruption around the world–a war with no victory in sight.
Long accustomed to federal drug control, most Americans are unaware that there was once a time when people were free to buy any drug, including opium, cocaine, and cannabis, at the pharmacy. In that bygone era, drug-related crime and violence were largely unknown, and drug use was not a major public concern.
The Opium Exclusion Act applied only to the opium processed for smoking that was favored by Chinese immigrants–not the medicinal opium that white Americans commonly kept in their household medicine cabinets.
Read the whole thing.
(Hat tip: Radley Balko)