1891 CE
Cannabis gets swept up in the temperance debate

In 1891, Mark Stewart, an active temperance and anti-opium campaigner, stood up in the British House of Commons to draw attention to a report that claimed cannabis was far more harmful than opium and that "the lunatic asylums of India are filled with ganga [cannabis] smokers. He wanted the Government of India to extend the prohibition of cannabis that had already been implemented in Lower Burma.

The cause was taken up by William Sproston Caine, another temperance advocate who focused specific attention on cannabis. While visiting India he came to the conclusion that cannabis was "the most horrible intoxicant the world has yet produced." According to Caine, when an Indian wants to commit some horrible crime, such as murder or wife mutilation, he prepares himself for it with two anna’s worth of bhang from a government majoon shop. He demanded that the Secretary of State for India set up a Commission of Experts to study the issue.

To his surprise the government agreed, possibly in part to direct attention away from the brewing debate about opium.

Source: Mills. J. (2013). Cannabis Britannica : The rise and demise of a Victorian wonder-drug. Gresham.

Drugs: Cannabis (marijuana)
Regions: India, UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
Topics: Prohibition