Until the inclusion of marijuana in the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act in 1932 and the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, there was no "national" public policy regarding the drug. However, as early as 1914 the New York City Sanitary Laws included cannabis in a prohibited drug list and in 1915 Utah passed the first state statute prohibiting sale or possession of the drug. By 1931 twenty-two states had enacted such legislation. In the succeeding section, we shall delve into the circumstances surrounding the passage of several of these early laws and the ensuing judicial acquiescence in the legislative value judgments concerning marijuana. We conclude that the legislative action and approval were essentially kneejerk responses uninformed by scientific study or public debate and colored instead by racial bias and sensationalistic myths.
VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW: VOLUME 56 OCTOBER 1970 NUMBER 6
Richard J. Bonnie* & Charles H. Whitebread, II**
'Assistant Professor of Law, University of Virginia. B.A., 1966, Johns Hopkins University; LL.B., 1969, University of Virginia.
"Assistant Professor of Law, University of Virginia. A.B., 1965, Princeton University; LL.B., 1968, Yale University.
The Genesis of Marijuana Prohibition