About Mexican Opium

This is a blog about the racist origins of American drug law. It focuses mostly on early case law and legislative history, occasionally drawing from surrounding historical sources that illuminate particular statutes or decisions and emphasize the minimal examination that early drug laws received from the American legal system.

I started this blog when I was a law student as a means of publishing information on the often ignored and highly suspect foundation of America’s current drug policy. I became interested in the field after researching the historical origins of California’s Proposition 19 of 2010 for a seminar paper.

The title of the blog comes from a 1929 newspaper account of Montana’s legislative debate preceding the ban of marijuana in the state. In the article, marijuana is defined rather simplistically as “Mexican Opium.” The masthead image comes from a cartoon accompanying a 1911 San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper article about a Chinese man accused of selling morphine.


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