In 1893, India was under British rule, and the colonial government became concerned about the amount of cannabis (i.e., “hemp drugs”) being consumed by the locals. So teams of British and Indian medical professionals were dispatched throughout the country to collect information on not just the health effects of cannabis, but also the social and moral impact.
The result was a massive research paper (over 3,000 pages), with recorded testimony from almost 1,200 “doctors, coolies, yogis, fakirs, heads of lunatic asylums, bhang peasants, tax gatherers, smugglers, army officers, hemp dealers, ganja palace operators, and the clergy.” Nearly all of the data in the seven volume report bolstered two key conclusions: moderate cannabis consumption is either relatively harmless or beneficial, and cannabis prohibition would be supremely unjust.
“To forbid or even seriously to restrict the use of so gracious an herb as hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance,” the report concluded. For the next 50 years, this research would stand as the most thorough and scientifically rigorous available.