Dangerous Harvest: Drug Plants and the Transformation of by Michael K. Steinberg (Editor), Joseph J. Hobbs (Editor),

By Michael K. Steinberg (Editor), Joseph J. Hobbs (Editor), Kent Mathewson (Editor)

All through historical past just about all conventional indigenous societies have used psychoactive components derived from crops in spiritual and therapeutic rituals. as soon as such crops are followed by way of outsiders for profane use, the customarily impoverished peasant farmers who develop them are confronted with a lifetime of severe poverty or are lured by means of the possibility of a really profitable funds crop with a gentle marketplace. earlier than lengthy, their cultural and actual panorama is tremendously altered. the aim of this publication is to discover this factor from quite a few views, starting from opium creation in Afghanistan and Pakistan to peyote gardens in south Texas.

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These laws and treaties thus amount to something of a social revolution in the relation between law and individual liberties. The early antiopium movement was a loose alliance between British Protestants, China missionaries, and Chinese imperial officials. With a generous endowment from a British Quaker, the Anglo-Oriental Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade formed in 1874 and soon attracted the patronage of a Catholic cardinal and the archbishop of Canterbury (Owen 1934: 261–263). For 30 years, moral crusaders fought a relentless campaign that culminated in 1906 when the British Parliament passed a motion to end India’s opium trade.

In the last half of the twentieth century, the multilateral attempt at prohibition was slowed by informal state protection for traffickers who were deemed useful to their security services.

The Netherlands Indies, for example, cut its consumption by 88 percent, from 127 tons to only 15 tons (League of Nations 1923: 4; 1935: 70–71). Multilateral controls thus reversed the centurylong climb in drug abuse — reducing world opium production from 41,600 tons in 1907 to an estimated 16,000 tons in 1934. Similarly, legal heroin production dropped from 20,000 pounds in 1926 to only 2,200 in 1931. (International Opium Commission 1909: 355–365; League of Nations 1937: 46–47; United Nations, Department of Social Affairs 1953: 3–4, 6–7).

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