Apologists, Prohibitionists, and Systemic Inertia: The Origins of Global Drug Control, 1900-1945

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Date
Authors
Couchman, Michael
Keyword
Opium , Cocaine , Cannabis , League of Nations , British Empire , Drugs , Narcotics , Smuggling , South Africa , Stephen Porter , Sassoon , Shanghai , Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade , Opium Wars , United Kingdom , United States , United Nations , Opium Advisory Committee , Ganja , Charas , Charles H. Brent , Malwa , Manchukuo , Malcolm Delevinge , Marijuana , Rolleston , Royal Commission on Opium , H.G. Monfreid , Harrison Act , Harry Anslinger , Indian Hemp Drugs Commission , India , International Reform Bureau , Indian Hemp , China , Japan , Egypt , Malaya , Philippines , Permanent Control Opium Board , Persia , Philippines Opium Commission , British North Borneo , Hong Kong , The Hague , Theodore Roosevelt , Geneva , B.A. Renborg , Formosa , Singapore , Ten Year Agreement , Wilbur Crafts , Hamilton Wright , Cecil Clementi Smith , Alexander Hosie , Organized Crime , Illicit Substances
Abstract
This thesis examines the early evolution of the global prohibitory regime surrounding the production, manufacture, distribution, and consumption of illicit drugs --notably opium, cocaine, and cannabis. The primary focus of my historical analysis is the series of international conferences at which this legal edifice was first conceived during the early twentieth-century, with particular emphasis placed on those meetings held under the auspices of the League of Nations Opium Advisory Committee. Contextualizing these summits at Shanghai (1909), The Hague (1912-1914), and Geneva (1924-1936) as an unforeseen consequence of the Indo-Chinese opium trade, I explore how the treaties which resulted from these multilateral negotiations were overwhelmingly shaped by the competing economic and geopolitical interests of Great Britain, the United States, and China. Building upon the predominant themes of the existing historiography concerning international drug control, I construct my historical narrative from a wide array of archival source material, including conference minutes, national delegation reports, governmental commissions, private correspondence, and contemporary press articles. I argue that contemporary practical realities and diplomatic exigencies worked to formulate a misguided and ineffective global legal framework which premised its entire operation on the enforcement of supply control measures, rather than the treatment of drug addiction itself.
External DOI