Chapter 8 Timeline



1600 - 1609

Cannabis Sativa L, the hemp plant that marijuana is derived from, grows wild throughout tropical regions of the world, being cultivated for at least 5,000 years. Its use as an intoxicant was brought to Africa by Arab traders, and was introduced to Brazil through the slave trade. In the past in the U.S, it was mostly cultivated for its fiber rather than drug content.

Crack Cocaine


Cocaine is found in significant quantities only found in the leaves of two species of coca shrub. Coca is seen as an important medium for social integration and human solidarity in the face of adverse conditions. Early records indicate that the effects of coca- stamina and energy- were ascribed not to the drug but to a pact the Indians had made with the devil.

Coca Plant

1880 - 1889

Since enthusiasm for cocaine was spreading across the U.S, a feel-good pharmacology based on the coca plant emerged. The substance was hawked for everything from headaches to hysteria.

Patent Medicines


Toward the end of the 19th century the campaign for drug regulation was assisted by agricultural chemists who decried the use of chemicals to defraud consumers into buying spoiled food. State-employed chemists then formed their own association to combat this practice and expanded their efforts into patent medicines.

Sinclair's "The Jungle"


This novel, written by Upton Sinclair, portrayed the horrid conditions and exploited the lives of immigrants in the U.S. The readers were more concerned with the exposure of the filthy, unsanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry, causing sales to drop drastically. President Roosevelt sent dispatchers to confirm Sinclair’s allegations. Later that year, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed.

Pure Food and Drug Act


This act prevents the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or poisonous foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors. The purpose is to protect the public from harmful foods and products.

Harrison Act


Provided that any person who was in the business of dealing in drugs covered by the act, were required to register annually and to pay a special annual tax of $1. It was enacted with the support of the AMA and the American Pharmaceutical Association. It had the effect of imposing a stamp of illegitimacy on the use of most narcotics.


1920 - 1933

Nationwide ban on the transportation, production, importation and sale of alcohol in the United States under terms of the 18th Amendment. The increase of illegal production and sale of liquor led to waning support for Prohibition. Congress then adopted a resolution proposing the 21st Amendment to the constitution that would repeal the 18th

Drug Rehabilitation Programs

1960 - 1969

The medical profession began to reassert itself on the issue of drug use in treatment. In 1966, the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act was passed, which authorized district courts to order the civil commitment of defendants who were found to be drug addicts. Between 1969 and 1974, the number of these programs increased from 16 to 926.

Drug Policies Racial and Ethnic Grouops


The war on drugs had the goal of reducing the supply of and demand for illegal drugs, though an ulterior, racial motivation had been proposed. The effects had created racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, and imprisonment. Since the drug war made unequal outcomes for racial groups, they are more likely to be searched, arrested, and convicted than are whites.

Ronald Reagan


During his presidency, drugs became a major political issue. With many widely reported incidents, there was an intensification of antidrug efforts. The fight against drugs was important in the presidential campaign, leading to the drug bill.


1990 - 1999

This was a period of a lack of political interest in drug use. Statutory and administrative remedies were formulated that placed more drug offenders in drug treatment programs, on probation, and on parole. The use of Methamphetamine increased, Marijuana was still readily available, cocaine still remained the dominant drug, and heroin made a comeback.