Even before the Boggs Act passed, Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics were already taking the mandatory-minimums argument to the states. Encouraging state governments to modify their existing laws to mirror the Boggs Act, he helped pass so-called “Little Boggs Acts” in seven states and the Alaskan territory (which became a state in 1959) almost immediately. By 1956, another 20 states had followed suit by either conforming to the Boggs minimums or merely increasing their own minimums. Ohio and Louisiana in particular instituted penalties even more severe than the Boggs Act. In the Buckeye State, drug sales netted 20 to 40 years, while sentences in the Pelican State ranged between five and 99 years for sales and/or possession.
Photo credit: Joey Csunyo.