Timeline: 1894-1997; Cannabis and Other Phenomena

Absurdities in the War on Drugs and Other Phenomena:1894-1997.

1894. The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission. (Commissioned by the UK) It states: “In regard to the physical effects…the moderate use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all.

1920. Canada. There is no domestic use of marijuana. No one knows what it is. Meanwhile, Emily Murphy, an Edmonton police Magistrate, begins to publish copies of Reefer Madness stories she has read in American police reports.

April 23, 1923. A late night session of the House of Commons. Mackenzie King tells MPs that there is a new drug on the Confidential Restricted List. The “drug” is not named. Upon second reading of the bill, Cannabis is made illegal in Canada.

January 28, 1928. A slow day in the British Parliament. The speaker announces a slight change in the Dangerous Drugs Act. The “drug” is not named. MPs are told that this change is a requirement of the 1925 Geneva Convention. This statement is a lie. Cannabis has just been made illegal in Britain.

1930: Presliced Wonderbread makes its debut, and the American Federal Bureau of Narcotics is born. Meanwhile, we get dance halls and Jazz. In Canada: Alcohol prohibition begins.

In the 1930s, Benzadrine is marketed as an anti-depressant.

  1. Panama Canal Report on Mariajuana (sic) commissioned by the commander of the U.S. Army. It states: “There is no evidence that it is habit forming. It has no deleterious effects on individuals. No special legislation is needed.

1935: Nylon; 1941: Orlon, Banlon, Rayon;1950: Dacron; 1951: Polyester, Polystyrene.

1937 The FBN, ruled by Harry Ansliger, makes Cannabis illegal in the U.S.

Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is released.

Ronald Reagan signs a 7 year contract with Warner Bros.

American Jazz Musicians enjoy Gage, Muggles or Reefer. So do their fans.

1938 Superman is Born.

Albert Hofmann invents LSD and takes his historic Bicycle Ride.

Hemp Growing is Made Illegal in Canada and the US.

1942. Renowned chemist Roger Adams gives the Harvey Lecture on Chemistry. He has just identified THC; CBD and CBN. He says: Marijuana might be helpful for restoring appetite; lifting depressed moods; lightening the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal; and as a sleeping aid.

1942-43. OSS, later to become the CIA, conducts secret Truth Drug Tests with Cannabis.

  1. 1943. Cannabis is forcibly removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia.
  2. 1944. The La Guardia Report by New York’s Mayor finds marijuana innocuous. “In general”, is stated, “attitudes toward family and community ideologies did not change markedly as a result of ingestion of marijuana.”
  3. 1951. The Boggs Act introduces new mandatory minimums for Cannabis possession: 2 years, 5 years and 10 years for first, second and third offenses respectively
  4. 1948. National Film Board of Canada releases “Drug Addict.” It represents a public health perspective on drugs. Harry Anslinger tries to have it banned.1952. Coal Tar derived Thorazine is released in France.
  1. Smith Kline produces Thorazine for North America; It’s been termed a Chemical Lobotomy
  2. First Frozen TV Dinner
  3. Disneyland Opens.

1950s. The Tranquilizer Miltown Takes the World by Storm. Party-goers invent “The Miltini.” That’s a Miltown blended into a Martini.

  1. 1956. Allen Ginsberg publishes the iconic poem: HOWL

1957: Jack Kerouac publishes the iconic book: On the Road

  1. Single convention on Drugs Internationalizes Cannabis Prohibition…. Except for Scientific Purposes. US Heats up War in Vietnam.
  2. President JFK holds a White House Conference

on marijuana. The Report Concludes that claims

against the plant are much exaggerated.

  1. JFK is assassinated; and the Clown Ronald MacDonald is born.
  2. 1964. LeMar, the first pro-legalization group is born in San Francisco. Raphael Mechoulam and Associates characterize THC at the Hebrew Univerity of Jerusalem. They are funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  3. 1965. Allen Ginsberg opens a Chapter of LeMar in New York.

1960s. Valium and Librium make their appearance. They become wildly popular.

  1. 1968. President LBJ creates the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), later to become the DEA. He reinforces the idea that ‘marijuana’ is a law enforcement issue…nothing to do with Health. Meanwhile, The University of Mississippi get the U.S. Government Contract to Grow Marijuana.
  2. Operation Intercept closes the Mexican American Border for two weeks. They look for marijuana. They don’t find any.
  3. 1969. The pro-legalization group Amorphia begins in Mill Valley, California.
  4. NORML is founded by Keith Stroup.

1970s. Ritalin is marketed as a panacea for chronic fatigue.

  1. Richard Nixon declares the WAR ON DRUGS.
  2. Clandestine studies on marijuana are carried out in two Toronto, Canada hospitals. The results were never released

1972-3. The Le Dain Commission in Canada, and The Shafer Commission in the US, both federally Funded, recommend decriminalization of Cannabis

  1. A very Big Year

Nixon Resign over Watergate

NIDA, the US National Institute For Drug Abuse is Born

MK Ultra, the CIA’s secret drug testing unit shreds its documents. They forget to shred a few.

Homosexuality is voted out of the DSM: The US Manual on Illnesses.

The War in Vietnam Ends

Nixon creates the DEA

Oregon decriminalizes Cannabis

OPEC doubles its oil prices, causing an Oil Crisis.

  1. Thomas Forcade publishes High Times; and Gerald Ford pardons Richard Nixon
  2. The Netherlands decriminalizes Cannabis.

October 21, 1967,70,000 Demonstrators Attempt to Exorcize the Pentagon, Chanting “Out Demon Out.”

1970s in General. Revival for Naturopaths Natural Childbirth and Breast Feeding.

  1. 1984. “Just Say No” and “Zero Tolerance” make the scene.

High Fructose Corn Syrup replaces sugar in soda pop.

1980s. AIDS becomes Epidemic.

Brain mapping via MRI scan becomes common.

  1. 1987. First Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, hosted by High Times.
  2. The DEA’s Administration Law Judge, Francis L. Young, publishes a Report. It states: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” The report is ignored.

Prozac is released. As of 2005 10% of Americans are on Prozac or one of its SSRI cousins; The U.S. created the Drug-Free Workplace Act allowing for testing employees; US Anti Drug Abuse Act, a major Act in the War on Drugs, created the Office of Narcotics, and Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the US Asset Forfeiture Act.

Also, The Endocannabinoid System is discovered.

  1. Operation Green Merchant is launched. DEA investigates High Times, Pot Journalists and sellers of plant growing products.
  2. President H. W. Bush pronounces the 90s The Decade of the Brain; and Carelton Turner, Reagan’s Drug Czar says: Pot use is linked to being anti military, anti authority, anti nuclear power, anti big business and pro homosexual.

1990s. Law suits are filed against Eli Lilly for over 2,000 Prozac induced suicides.

  1. 1992. The endocannabinoid, Anandamide discovered by Israeli Researcher, Raphael Mechoulam.
  1. 1997. FDA permits direct to consumer ads for psychotropic pharmaceuticals.







Judith Stamps

Judith Stamps holds a doctorate in political theory from the University of Toronto, and has taught political science at the University of Victoria. She is author of Unthinking Modernity: Innis, McLuhan and the Frankfurt School, as well as numerous journal articles and letters to the editor. From 2013-2018, she served as editor of Cannabis Digest, and wrote weekly blogs for Cannabis Digest Blogs. Her current writing focuses on cannabis history, science, and culture, and the concept of prohibition. She is a guest writer for The Daily Hive: Grow; Post Media's TheGrowthOp; and BotaniQ Magazine.

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