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LS101 – Nov.5.doc

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Legal Studies
LS 101
Frances Chapman

LS101 – Nov.5 05/11/2007 21:50:00 ← ← DRUG LEGISLATION ← th ← - in the 18 century, lots of legal remedies contained morphine and opium ← - cocaine was found in cold remedies ← The Opium Act of 1908 ← • First time that there was drug legislation in Canada – first drug law • Prohibited importation, manufacturing and sale of opium • Before this, alcohol and tobacco were the items that were limited - thought to be threat to morality • 1911 Opium and Drug Act - amendments made very quickly • Before this, a large Asian population imported and used opium – was not seen as a threat • 1908 Act didn’t care about health effects – more focused on a very vulnerable population (the Chinese population on the West Coast) • Opium was seen as very lucrative – gov’t was making money off it • Many think that this act was a method of social control – to control poor and politically powerless Chinese population (after the railroad was completed, Chinese began to compete with regular white people for jobs) • Eventually had a head tax imposed on them - $50 per person which was considered a huge expenditure at the time (eventually doubled and then went up to $500 – equivalent to a year’s wages) • However, Chinese immigrants continued to come into Canada and led to Vancouver riots – 75% of immigrants lived in BC • William Lyon Mackenzie King (course notes) • In 1920, there were a series of articles in Macleans written by Emily Murphy (first female Senator) – extremely racially biased on Asians and drug policy o Also wrote a book – ‘The Black Candle’ – stating that drug use was rampant in “certain parts of the country” (BC) o Linked it to crime, insanity..etc. – stated that it was a Chinese problem brought to Canada • Eventually, RCMP received increased powers of investigation and arrest to combat drug usage o Didn’t require search warrants etc. • Public agreed with the sweeping police powers – number of chargeable offenses increased heavily • Sentence raised from 14 years to life imprisonment – minimum sentence for trafficking and importing of 7 years • Marijuana and hashish charges represented 90% of all drug convictions • Le Dain Commission – early 1970’s ← ← DRUG TRAFFICKING AND SOCIAL POLICY • In
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