Cocaine was outlawed because of fears that superhuman "Negro Cocaine Fiends" or "Cocainized Niggers" (actual terms used by newspapers in the early 1900's) take large amounts of cocaine which would make them go on a violent sexual rampage and rape white women. There is little evidence that any black men actually did this, if only because it would have been certain death. The United States set a record in 1905 with 105 recorded lynchings of black men. At the same time, police nationwide switched from .32 caliber pistols to .38 caliber pistols because it was believed that the superhuman "Negro Cocaine Fiend" could not be killed with the smaller gun.
Dr. Hamilton Wright is sometimes referred to as the "Father of American Drug Laws". Dr. Wright was the Opium Commissioner at the time and had previously become famous because he had "scientifically proved" that beri-beri was a communicable disease. Beri-beri is a vitamin deficiency.
The Harrison Act which "outlawed" these drugs was, on its face, a simple licensing law which simply required sellers to get a license if they were going to handle the opiates and cocaine. As the... [continues]
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