This category contains 8 posts

Bryan Stevenson

This is a TED talk that Bryan Stevenson did this month. He is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Montgomery, Alabama. I’ve seen Stevenson speak live once before, when he was honored by Public Advocates in San Francisco. He is an incredibly moving speaker and a master storyteller. I cannot recommend this talk … Continue reading

Mexican Opium: The Wordtrack (Disc 2)

This is the second installment of a series about books that I’ve read for this blog that are at least in part about early American drug law. I’ll give a few-line overview of what the book is about, and then three quotes I found pull-worthy (because they explain something about an early law, offer a … Continue reading

“War on the Underclass”

Chances are decent that if you’re reading this, you’ve seen the HBO program The Wire. I say this because if you find yourself on this blog you are either: (a) Interested in drug policy, which is a central inquiry of The Wire, or (b) A friend or family member of mine, which means that I’ve likely … Continue reading

Interview with Reuel Schiller

I had the pleasure of sitting down for a talk with UC Hastings Professor Reuel Schiller in his office last week. Schiller, who teaches legal history at Hastings, has a fantastic knowledge bank for the era when the first drug laws were coming in (i.e. post Civil War, pre-WWII). I thought that was reason enough … Continue reading

Mere Possession

Enough lying. It’s time to admit that Professor Joseph Spillane’s warning to Mexican Opium against touting “Drug Law Exceptionalism” in regards to racism in early drug law has deeply troubled this blog’s identity. No, don’t comfort me  – enough of the charade. I know that the 11 people who visited Mexican Opium the day after … Continue reading

Matthew Deady

This is Matthew Deady –  child of the state of Maryland by way of Irish parents, founding father of the state of Oregon by way of the Oregon Trail. Farmer, trained blacksmith, teacher, lawyer, legislator, President of the Oregon Constitutional Convention, patron of the Multnomah County Library, former U.S. Territorial Judge and the first U.S. … Continue reading

America’s First Drug Law

On November 15, 1875, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a landmark ordinance banning opium dens in the City. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle’s report of the event. The Chronicle article cites the threat of Chinese opium den operators snagging white people as the main motivation behind the ordinance. This is generally regarded as the … Continue reading

But the replays are my favorite part…

Two days ago, I posted a blog about jurisprudence and early drug law that mentioned the racist origins of west coast opium legislation. To my surprise, I received a comment in response to this post from Joseph Spillane, a history professor at the University of Florida. Spillane wrote an excellent book on the history of … Continue reading