In every place that opium smoking took root, there were efforts to eradicate it. China's attempts to ban the drug were stymied by corruption brought about by its popularity and widespread use. Beginning in the early 20th century, China, backed by Western powers united against the British opium trade, began to make serious attempts to banish opium, but not until the communists took power in China were draconian measures introduced that would finally eradicate opium in that country for good. In the American West, cities and towns began passing anti-opium ordinances beginning in 1876. Within two years there were laws against opium smoking in such western outposts as Carson City, Nevada and Butte, Montana. San Francisco may have the distinction of being the first place that the artistry of opium paraphernalia was recognized by officials in charge of destroying it. During a bonfire presided over by San Francisco's mayor James Rolph in 1914, the mayor decreed that several opulent examples of opium pipes poised to be incinerated be spared and donated to the city's Golden Gate Museum.
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