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 titleAn Act Supplemental to the National Prohibition Act.
NicknamesNational Prohibition Supplemental Act of 1921
Enacted bythe 67th United States Congress
EffectiveNovember 23, 1921
Public lawPub.L. 67–96
Statutes at Large42 Stat. 222
Titles amended27 U.S.C.: Intoxicating Liquors
U.S.C. sections amended27 U.S.C. ch. 1 §§ 2,3,5
Legislative history
Major amendments
Medicinal Liquor Prescriptions Act of 1933
United States Supreme Court cases
Lambert v. Yellowley

The Willis–Campbell Act of 1921 was a piece of legislation in the United States intended to clarify and tighten regulations around the medicinal use of alcohol during Prohibition. The law, sponsored by Republican Sen. Frank B. Willis of Ohio and Rep. Philip P. Campbell of Kansas, specified that only "spirituous and vinous liquors" (i.e. spirits and wine, thus excluding beer) could be prescribed medicinally, reduced the maximum amount of alcohol per prescription to half a pint, and limited doctors to 100 prescriptions for alcohol per 90-day period. 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. ^ Appel, JM (2008). ""Physicians are not bootleggers." The short, peculiar life of the medicinal alcohol movement". Bull Hist Med. 82 (2): 355–386. doi:10.1353/bhm.0.0005. PMID 18622072. S2CID 37764670.
  2. ^ "Just What the Doctor Ordered". The Smithsonian. April 2005. Retrieved 22 November 2017.

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