The NJWEEDMAN Saga Part 1: The Making of an Activist

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from contributing editor Bob Beach. Beach is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Albany, SUNY.  On January 27, a 20-year old Spencer Alan Boston walked into a Wilson County, Tennessee General Sessions court, to discuss sentencing on a simple marijuana possession charge. Tennessee law penalizes possession of lessContinue reading “The NJWEEDMAN Saga Part 1: The Making of an Activist”

Rehousing Archives from the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is exciting. The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation is looking to rehouse its extensive archives. If you’re interested in learning more about these materials, contact CJPF’s executive director, Eric Sterling, at the information below.  Eric Sterling, former counsel to the House Subcomittee on Crime (1979-1989) and Executive Director of the Criminal JusticeContinue reading “Rehousing Archives from the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation”

Points Interview: Stephanie Schmitz, Purdue University Archives & Special Collections

Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted and written by Lucas Richert, Chancellor’s Fellow in Health History at Strathclyde and co-editor in chief of Social History of Alcohol and Drugs. Enjoy!  Stephanie Schmitz is the Betsy Gordon Archivist for Psychoactive Substances Research at the Purdue University Archives & Special Collections, where she is responsible for building collections pertainingContinue reading “Points Interview: Stephanie Schmitz, Purdue University Archives & Special Collections”

The Eyes of the City: Fiorello La Guardia’s Committee on the Marihuana Problem in New York

I recently attended the Urban History Association conference in Chicago, October 13-16 along with Tina Peabody and Shannon Missick, two colleagues from the University at Albany, SUNY, presenting a panel about the shifting focus of municipal resources toward (and away from) issues of trash collection, food access, and marijuana use. I examined the La Guardia CommitteeContinue reading “The Eyes of the City: Fiorello La Guardia’s Committee on the Marihuana Problem in New York”

Gendering Reefer Madness

In their 2011 book, Gendering Addiction: The Politics of Drug Treatment in a Neurochemical World, Nancy Campbell and Elizabeth Ettorre problematize the male-centric knowledges that frame addiction research and treatment programs. They call for a more inclusive treatment strategy that does not consider the neurochemical “male brain” the baseline for recovery. According to the authors,Continue reading “Gendering Reefer Madness”

The Films of Adrian Cowell: Opium stories from the Shan State to Hong Kong to Washington, DC (Guest Post)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Points is thrilled to welcome Hannah Palin (Film Archives Specialist) and Nicolette Bromberg (Visual Materials Curator) from the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections. The University of Washington has a wonderful collection of materials by the British filmmaker and journalist Adrian Cowell. Beware, alcohol and drugs historians– once you read their descriptions of the CowellContinue reading “The Films of Adrian Cowell: Opium stories from the Shan State to Hong Kong to Washington, DC (Guest Post)”

The Value of Propaganda as Historical Evidence: Anslinger’s Gore File as Source Material

Editor’s Note: This week, Bob Beach follows up on an earlier post about the Harry J. Anslinger papers. Today, Bob shares some of his findings from the infamous “gore file.” In roughly four years, between 1933 to 1937, Harry Anslinger led a policy push to marginalize and strictly regulate the use of marijuana in theContinue reading “The Value of Propaganda as Historical Evidence: Anslinger’s Gore File as Source Material”

Escape from Custody: A Classic Book and a New Collection

Alcohol and drugs historians have long lamented the archival limitations of studying past substance users. Substance users typically enter the historical record through retrospective oral histories, the archives of hospitals or prisons, or popular books and media. All these sources have shortcomings: oral histories are riddled with the errors of human memory, institutional archives areContinue reading “Escape from Custody: A Classic Book and a New Collection”

Reckoning with Anslinger, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gore File

Editor’s Note: This week, Bob Beach continues his discussion of evidence in the archives. This essay is based on his recent trip to the Harry J. Anslinger Papers at Penn State University. I know he was simply doing his job, but it was a strange experience. This was not my first archive trip. But whenContinue reading “Reckoning with Anslinger, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gore File”

Parallel to the Grain? Finding Recreational Users in the Archives

For cultural historians looking into the history of drugs, one of the more frustrating obstacles to our work comes from trying to find “the people,” those who used the drugs we are studying. In studies of more recent times, scholars are able to locate individuals, interviewing them about their experiences. But for someone who studiesContinue reading “Parallel to the Grain? Finding Recreational Users in the Archives”

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