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25 Things that used to be legal

OCTOBER 23, 2015  —  By Jason Lopez

25 Things that used to be legal

The following slideshow details 25 things that used to be legal in the history of the United States or other noted countries around the world. Take a look at the slideshow. Some of these things may surprise you.

Sending Children by Parcel Post

Sending Children by Parcel Post

KOCO

On Jan. 1, 1913, the U.S. Parcel Post Service regulations stated that packages could not weigh more than 50 lbs. On February 19, 1914, the parents of a four-year-old mailed their daughter from Grangeville, Idaho to her grandparents in Lewiston, Idaho with 53-cents worth of postal stamps on her jacket. After hearing of examples similar to this, the Postmaster General issued regulation against sending children by mail.

Lobotomy

Lobotomy

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In the 20th century, lobotomies were used to treat serious mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and even severe pain such as backaches. Lobotomies included removing a portion of the patients brain to help alleviate the issues they were experiencing. The procedure was practiced around the world, however in 1950 it was made illegal in the USSR because it was deemed "contrary to the principles of humanity" and was doing more harm than good. In the 1970s, numerous countries banned the procedure including several US states.

MDMA

MDMA

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MDMA (Ecstasy) was developed in Germany during the early 1900s to be used to synthesize other drugs. In the 1970s, U.S. psychiatrists began using MDMA as a psychotherpaeutic drug to treat their patients, despite the fact that it had not undergone clinical trials. During the early 1980s, MDMA became popular in the recreational drug scene for the euphoric state it would provide it's users. In 1985, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency banned the use of the drug.

Marrying Your First Cousin

Marrying Your First Cousin

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Up until the 1860s, the practice of marrying your first cousin was common across Europe and the United States. The first state to ban first cousin marriage was Kansas in 1858. By the 1920s, many states including Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wyoming, and others had followed suit. Today, 25 states prohibit marriages between first cousins.

Peyote

Peyote

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Peyote is one of the oldest known psychedelic agents, derived from the peyote cactus. Peyote has been used in Native American religious ceremonies for thousands of years. Peyote was traditionally used to relieve toothaches, asthma, and even cold systems. It was made illegal in the U.S. under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Currently, however, members of the federally-recognized Native American Church are exempt from criminal penalties for peyote use in religious ceremonies.

Prostitution

Prostitution

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Laws against selling sex were adopted by states over the past 100 years. Prior to this, America's largest "red-light district" was located in New Orleans and it was called Storyville. The majority of states adopted prostitution laws between 1910 and 1915 due to the influence of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Today, prostitution is only legal in several counties in Nevada.

Smoking Anywhere

Smoking Anywhere

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In the early 1900s it was legal to smoke wherever you wished. The first smoking restriction was adopted by Minnesota in 1975 under the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, which restricted smoking in most public places. Many states followed, initially making separate smoking sections indoors, which then shifted to completely banning all smoking from indoor and public places. Smoking was banned from all airline flights beginning and ending in the U.S. in November of 1989.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine

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Amphetamine was first made in 1887 in Germany, and methamphetamine, it's more potent and easy to make counterpart, was developed in Japan in 1919. Initially methamphetamine was used in World War II to help keep troops awake. In the 1950s methamphetamine was prescribed as a diet aid and to fight depression. In the 1960s, abuse of the drug began to spread, leading to the U.S. government making it illegal in 1970.

Open Immigration

Open Immigration

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Initially, the U.S. Government encouraged open immigration to settle as much territory as possible. After the Civil War, states began to pass their own immigration statutes. In 1875, the United States Supreme Court determined that immigration came under federal jurisdiction and the Immigration Service was established in 1891. Today, in order to legally immigrate to the United States, you must obtain an immigrant visa, as well as a green card. To gain citizenship, you must demonstrate good moral character and a basic knowledge of English, U.S. history and government.

GHB

GHB

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GHB, also known as the date rape drug, was initially used as a weight loss medication, but it was taken off the market in 1990 because of safety concerns. It has also been used to treat people who are addicted to alcohol or narcotic drugs. It helped manage their withdrawal symptoms. GHB was gaining notoriety as the "date rape drug" and in March of 2000 , it was labeled as a Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Women Unable To Vote

Women Unable To Vote

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Initially, female citizens of the United States were not granted the same rights as men, including the right to vote. It wasn't until the 19th amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920, that women were granted the right to vote, which was known as woman suffrage.

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

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Hallucinogenic mushrooms have historically dated back 100,000 years, originating in East Africa. In the 1950s, Harvard University professor Timothy Leary traveled to Mexico to experience hallucinogenic mushrooms. Upon returning to Harvard, he started a project promoting the study of the drug. This project led to widespread knowledge and recreational use of the drug. Hallucinogenic mushrooms were legal until 1971.

Child Labor

Child Labor

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Child labor laws have not always been in place, and there was a time in history when child labor was preferred because factory owners saw them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. Initially, child labor was regulated on a state level, however in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act was put in place which regulated the minimum ages of employment, and the number of hours that children were able to work.

Heroin

Heroin

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Heroin was created from morphine in 1874 by an English chemist, and was produced commercially in 1898 by the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company. Heroin was initially used as a morphine substitute, but it was quickly discovered that it was highly addictive. In 1924, the United States banned it's sale, importation, and manufacture.

Not Wearing Seat Belts

Not Wearing Seat Belts

KOCO

While laws vary from state to state, there was once a time when it was legal to drive in a car without wearing a seat belt. New York was the first state to pass a law in 1984, in which vehicle occupants were required to wear seat belts. Today there are mandatory seat belt laws for adults in all states except New Hampshire.

Driving and Texting

Driving and Texting

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Prior to 2007, there were no state laws regarding distracted driving in relation to texting on a cellphone. In 2007, Washington became the first state to pass a texting ban. As of 2014, text messaging for all drivers has been banned in 41 states.

Segregation

Segregation

KOCO

Following the civil war, millions of formerly enslaved African Americans had hopes of joining society as equal citizens, however this did not immediately occur. Racial divisions continued to be part of the laws of the land, and by 1900, new laws and older customs had created a segregated society. The case Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed it legal to separate facilities based on race under the doctrine of "separate, but equal." It wasn't until Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, that the court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for students were unconstitutional.

LSD

LSD

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LSD was discovered in Switzerland in 1938, when a chemist accidentally consumed the synthetic drug LSD-25 that he had created. LSD became popular in the 1960s as the so-called "mind-expanding" recreational drug. LSD was also experimented with for psychiatric therapy between 1950 and 1965, when approximately 40,000 patients were administered LSD tablets to help cure ailments. It was determined that LSD had no beneficial effects on these illnesses. In 1965, it was made illegal to manufacture and possess LSD in the United States.

Killing Bald Eagles

Killing Bald Eagles

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In 1782, the bald eagle was chosen as the national emblem of the United States by the Continental Congress. At the time, however, there were no laws against disturbing, harming or killing the birds. On June 8, 1940, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was instituted, which prohibits anyone without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior from causing any harm or bother to the bald or golden eagle.

Drinking At Age 18

Drinking At Age 18

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Prior to 1984, the minimum drinking age in the United States was 18 years old. At the urging of groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, President Reagan signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act on July 17, 1984, raising the national minimum drinking age to 21.

Drinking and Driving

Drinking and Driving

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In 1910, New York became the first state to adopt a law against drinking and driving. California and other states soon followed. At that time, there was no set definition of what level of intoxication qualified as drunken driving. In 1938, a blood alcohol content of .15 percent became the first commonly-used legal limit. In 2000, Congress adopted a .08 BAC for driving impaired.

Cocaine

Cocaine

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In 1885, the U.S. manufacturer Parke-Davis sold cocaine in various forms, including cigarettes and powders. In 1886, coca leaves (from which cocaine is derived) were included in the new soft drink, Coca-cola. Cocaine was used as a stimulant. The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act made cocaine illegal for non-medical purposes. In 1970, cocaine was included in the Controlled Substances act, and made illegal, unless its used as an anesthetic for specific surgical procedures.

Slavery

Slavery

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The first slaves arrived in Virginia in 1619. In 1808, Congress banned the importation of slaves from Africa, and in 1820, the Missouri Compromise banned slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri. Following the civil war, the 13th Amendment was passed by Congress on Jan. 31, 1865, declaring that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude...shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

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In the book "Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement," the author notes that according to English common law, a woman's husband could punish her with a stick no bigger than his thumb, and she could not complain against him. While this may have been the case at one point in history, by 1920, all states had adopted domestic violence laws that made the act illegal. However, it wasn't until the 1970s that the criminal justice system had begun to treat domestic violence as a serious crime, and not a private family matter.

Opium

Opium

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In the early 1900s opium was used to produce heroin, which was being given to morphine addicts as a step-down cure for their addiction. Doctors quickly realized that their patients were beginning to suffer from heroin withdrawals, that were equal to, if not worse than morphine withdrawals. In 1903 heroin addictions began rising at alarming rates, and in 1905 the U.S. Congress banned opium.

Polygamy

Polygamy

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Polygamy is the act of taking more than one spouse, and although it was never the cultural norm in the United States, a law was not passed regarding it being an illegal act until 1878. Polygamy became a significant issue in 1852, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made it known that a form of the practice called plural marriage was part of it's doctrine. This resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the plurality of wives violated criminal law.