Willis–Campbell Act

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Willis–Campbell Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Alcoholic Liquor Traffic Act
  • Beer Emergency Bill
  • National Prohibition Definition Act
  • Supplementary Volstead Act
Long title An Act Supplemental to the National Prohibition Act.
Nicknames National Prohibition Supplemental Act of 1921
Enacted by the 67th United States Congress
Effective November 23, 1921
Public law 67-96
Statutes at Large 42 Stat. 222
Legislative history
United States Supreme Court cases
Lambert v. Yellowley

The Willis–Campbell Act of 1921, sponsored by Sen. Frank B. Willis (R) of Ohio and Rep. Philip P. Campbell (R) of Kansas, prohibited doctors from prescribing beer or liquor as a “drug” to treat ailments. It was commonly known as the "beer emergency bill".[1][2]

The Act kept in force all anti-liquor tax laws that had been in place prior to the passage of the Volstead Act in 1919, giving authorities the right to choose whether or not to prosecute offenders under prohibition laws or revenue laws, but at the same time guaranteeing bootleggers that they would not be prosecuted in both ways.


  1. ^ ""Physicians are not bootleggers." The short, peculiar life of the medicinal alcohol movement". 82 (2). Bull Hist Med. 2008: 355–386. 
  2. ^ "Just What the Doctor Ordered". The Smithsonian. April 2005. Retrieved 22 November 2017. 

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