For centuries, political leaders have tried to protect people from the dangers of substance misuse. They may do this by taxing the substance so that it’s more expensive to purchase—cigarettes, for example, are taxed in many countries. Lawmakers might restrict access to the substance to specific group, such as doctors. Or they might ban the substance outright. Each of these kinds of control requires an act of legislation, or legal action. The United States has a unique history of drug legislation, from the unregulated marketplaces of early America to the strict laws of today.
DRUG POLICY IN AMERICA: THE EARLY YEARS
Drug policy was slow to develop in early America, but drug use wasn’t. Europeans learned about tobacco from native people in both North and South America. Soon, tobacco was one of the most important products the colonies produced. Rum and beer were incredibly popular drinks in colonial
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