Queen’s Law – Cannabis in the Lederman Library


I’m Patrick Patterson, reference assistant
at the Lederman law library, and I’d like to tell you about a display on cannabis
legalization currently in the library when advocates advise us that the
legalization of recreational cannabis is 95 years overdue
they are looking back to the 1923 consolidation of the 1920 opium and
narcotic drug act with amendments from 1921 and 1922 at that time codeine and
marijuana were added to the schedule of restricted drugs without debate the so
called grandmother of marijuana prohibition eminent suffragists and
justice Emily Murphy is often cited for a series of five articles that she wrote
for McClain’s magazine in 1920 Murphy also known as Janey Canuck addressed the
moral scourge precipitated by drug use in terms laced with moral panic and
racist stereotypes the articles were the basis for her book the black candle
which includes the chapter marijuana the new Menace marijuana prohibition has
been characterized as a solution without a problem and this certainly would have
been true in 1923 when cannabis use was at best a marginal pastime
despite the recommendation supporting decriminalization of marijuana laws by
the latane Commission report in 1972 and by the Senate Special Committee on the
illegal drugs in 2002 the prohibition on the recreational use of cannabis has
persisted with legalization now a reality we shall see if the Maclean’s
recent proclamation of marijuana mayhem has any legitimacy.

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