Cannabis Britannica: Empire, Trade, and Prohibition 1800-1928

Paperback | March 24, 2005

byJames H. Mills

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Cannabis Britannica explores the historical origins of the UK's legislation and regulations on cannabis preparations before 1928. It draws on published and unpublished sources from the seventeenth century onwards, from archives in the UK and India, to show how the history of cannabis and theBritish before the twentieth century was bound up with imperialism. James Mills argues that until the 1900s, most of the information and experience gathered by British sources were drawn from colonial contexts as imperial administrators governed and observed populations where use of cannabis wasextensive and established. This is most obvious in the 1890s when British anti-opium campaigners in the House of Commons seized on the issue of Government of India excise duties on the cannabis trade in Asia in order to open up another front in their attacks on imperial administration. The resultwas that cannabis preparations became a matter of concern in Parliament which accordingly established the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission. The story in the twentieth century is of the momentum behind moves to include cannabis substances in domestic law and in international treaties. The latter was a matter of the diplomatic politics of imperialism, as Britain sought to defend its cannabis revenues in India against American and Egyptianinterests. The domestic story focuses on the coming together of the police, the media, and the pharmaceutical industry to form misunderstandings of cannabis that forced it onto the Poisons Schedule despite the misgivings of the Home Office and of key medical professionals. The book is the first fullhistory of the origins of the moments when cannabis first became subjected to laws and regulations in Britain.

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Cannabis Britannica explores the historical origins of the UK's legislation and regulations on cannabis preparations before 1928. It draws on published and unpublished sources from the seventeenth century onwards, from archives in the UK and India, to show how the history of cannabis and theBritish before the twentieth century was boun...

James H. Mills is an ESRC Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Department of History, University of Strathclyde.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:260 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.59 inPublished:March 24, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199278814

ISBN - 13:9780199278817

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. 'Dr O'Shaughnessy appears to have made some experiments with charas': Imperial Merchants, Victorian Science, and Hemp to 18423. 'From the old records of the Ganja Supervisor's Office': Smuggling, Trade, and Taxation in Nineteenth-Century British India4. 'The Sikh who killed the Reverend was a known bhang drinker': Medicine, Murder, and Madness in Mid-century5. 'The Lunatic Asylums of India are filled with ganja smokers': Ganja in Parliament 1891-18946. 'A bow-legged boy running with a chest of tea between his legs': Reports, Experiments, and Hallucinations 1894-19127. 'An allusion was made to hemp in the notes appended to the Hague Opium Convention': The League of Nations and British Legislation 1912-19288. 'An outcome of cases that have come before the police courts of the use of hashish': DORA, the First World War, and the Domestic Drug Scares of the 1920s9. Conclusion: Cannabis and the British Government, 1800-1928BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`An excellent account of the changing perceptions of a substance that has once again become the focus of attention ... a judicious mix of serious analysis and interesting anecdotes that shed light on the ongoing colourful career of cannabis'Zaheer Baber, Times Literary Supplement