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In 5 Sets
At the beginning of August, Illinois legalized medical marijuana, becoming the 20th state to do so. And less than a year ago, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. But back in the early 20th century, both states were among the first to ban the drug. If that seems like a radical change, well – it’s hardly the first time a drug has undergone a major image overhaul in America. So in this episode of BackStory, we’re examining those shifts, tracing the changing face of drugs – and drug users – in the United States.
We start in the 19th century, when opium and cocaine were perfectly legal, and heroin was touted as a cure for morphine addiction, and trace the story of their criminalization – or in the case of pot, decriminalization. And we bring the story right on up through the 1970s, when Vietnam vets and suburban housewives triggered two very different drug panics. Along the way, Brian, Ed, and Peter explore the influence of the medical establishment, as well as the role of popular culture, in shaping American attitudes about drugs.
For more on the stories and guests featured in this episode, check out BackStory's website at: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/all-hopped-up/