HC Deb 12 November 1906 vol 164 cc1044-5
*MR. THEODORE TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)

I beg to ask the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether the provisions of the Transvaal Ordinance of 6th October, 1905, prohibiting the importation or possession of opium except for medicinal purposes, have been repealed; whether they have replaced by a new Ordinance making it possible for any Chinaman to obtain two pounds of opium per month; and if so, whether His Majesty's Government will sanction such repeal and new Ordinance.


Law 36 of 1905, assented to on 2nd October of that year, prohibited the possession of opium except for medicinal purposes. The new Ordinance fixes the maximum for which a permit can be issued at two pounds per month. No permit can be issued except by a responsible officer on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner, and in the case of Chinese coolies a permit can only be issued by an inspector of the Foreign Labour Department on the prescription of the medical officer of the company by whom the labourer is employed, and the company is naturally interested in not allowing excessive use of opium. The Ordinance is in operation and it is not the intention of the Secretary of State to advise His Majesty to disallow the Ordinance.


Is this a suggestion that a Chinaman can consume two pounds of opium a month?


I cannot answer as to that. I do not know what amount would be reasonable. I presume the matter was carefully considered.

MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

Is not two pounds a month enough for twenty men?


asked for notice of that Question.

SIR H. COTTON (Nottinghamshire, E.)

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of reducing the maximum?


I will certainly inquire into the matter.