Virginia L. Rothwell
The Boggs Act of 1951 (named for Louisiana Congressman Thomas Boggs, Sr., who sponsored the bill because he thought drug laws were too lenient) strengthened the enforcement of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 and the Narcotic Drug Import and Export Act of 1922 by enforcing harsh penalties on individuals convicted of drug law violations. This entry explores the historical context that led to the passage of the Boggs Act, the legal content of the act, and reactions to the act after its passage. In the early 19th century, there was little to no legal regulation of drug use in the United States. The use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and opium was often commonplace and even encouraged by many in the medical community. However, the late 19th century brought rapid change to the structure and culture of the United States, spurred by rapid industrialization, urbanization and waves of immigration. In ...