Drug policies in the US

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The US has seen a transition of laws since 1906 all directed toward intensifying the war against drugs. According to Sacco (2014)  drugs still remain a menace in the backstreets of US as the cartel have grown large making it hard to eliminate drugs as the cartels receive backing from some of the top government offices. Below is a timeline detailing the major drug policies and acts from the year 1906 to date.

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1906: The Pure Food and Drug Act

This act heralded the US fight against drugs, stipulating that specific drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, heroin morphine and cocaine needed to be accurately labeled with the specific contents and dosage indicated. Before the act most of these drugs had been sold as patented drugs with fake unreliable prescriptions and labels. These drugs were legal as long as they were correctly labeled decreasing the sale of patented medicines by almost thirty percent (Sacco, 2014).

1914: The Harrison Narcotic Act

This was the first ever act in the US which enacted a legal ban on the distribution of drugs. The drug act was introduced as a way of regulating large scale production of drugs and other opiated substances under the commerce clause defined in the United States constitution. The implications of this act were that any doctor who prescribed opiated drugs was liable for prosecution (Sacco, 2014).

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1937: Marijuana Tax Act

The act involve a $1 tax on any one found to be distributing marijuana. The act also necessitated that any person distributing marijuana to maintain a detailed account of all transactions and official inspections and any other private information of parties involved. This was a law passed by the parliament on the grounds that it triggered insanity, death and criminality.

1970: The Controlled Substance Act

The act was enacted by congress and is the federal law up to date that controls the manufacture, importation, use, distribution and possession of drugs in the US.

1986: The Anti-drug Abuse Act

The act was passed as a law in the US by the Congress. The act changes the way the system worked. The system of federal supervision changed from a rehabilitative system to a stringent system which was punitive in nature. The act also outlined the minimum mandatory sentences for people associated with drugs with the inclusion of marijuana (Sacco, 2014).

2010: The defeat of the California preposition

The California preposition was also known as the Regulate, control and cannabis tax act was defeated as the California voters were not in favor of the policies under the act. This means that cannabis continued to be used in California with no legal laws to control its use and distribution (Sacco, 2014).

2012: Colorado and Washington laws

The laws passed in the state involved the use of marijuana. The laws outlined the legal use of marijuana, its sale and also regulates its possession

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2014: Alaska and Oregon laws

The two states followed the steps of Colorado and Washington. The law passed offered a better platform for the sale, distribution and consumption of marijuana

2016: Recreational marijuana made legal

Recreational marijuana was legalized in the states of California, Nevada, Maine   and Massachusetts. This was following evidences by scientist that recreational marijuana had medical advantages such as reducing the chronic pain experienced by cancer patients (Hill, 2015).

Did you like this sample?
  1. Hill, K. P. (2015). Medical marijuana for treatment of chronic pain and other medical and psychiatric problems. a clinical review, 2474-2483.
  2. Sacco, L. N. (2014). Drug enforcement in the United States: History, policy, and trends. Journal of Drug Addiction, Education, and Eradication, 415.
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