In this episode of our podcast series History of UK drug use: The 1950s and 1960s we examine cannabis in the 1950s. The episode covers how cannabis came to be illegal in the UK, its presentation in the 1950s popular press and its prosecution by the police. In doing so, it demonstrates how cannabis was used in the press to play up social fears surrounding racial mixing and young female independance. It also illuminates some of the origins of the police using drug laws to harass black communities.

I would like to extend my thanks to writer Marek Kohn for his immensely helpful feedback on a draft of this episode.

An annotated script for this episode can be found here.

A full list of my sources is available here.

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