History of Marijuana in the US

Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded. Dating back as far as 2700 BC.  Of all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.

To date, there are approximately 22,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature referencing the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, nearly half of which were published within ten years.

Currently, more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s supervision.

Source- norml.org

Timeline details:

  • 1545: the Spanish bring marijuana to the “New World.”
  • 1611: Marijuana/ hemp introduced by the English in Jamestown for industrial uses.
  • 1850: Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia and was prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism.
  • 1890: Hemp is mostly replaced by cotton as a major cash crop in southern states
  • 1920’s: Marijuana begins to gain favor as a recreational drug
  • 1930s: Then U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics initiated a campaign to portray marijuana as a powerful, addicting substance that would lead users into narcotics addiction
  • 1936: Propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was produced by the French director, Louis Gasnier.
  • 1937: Congress Passes marijuana Tax Act, effectively criminalizing marijuana.
  • 1942:  Marijuana removed from the United States Pharmacopeia.
  • 1970: The Controlled Substances Act classified marijuana along with heroin and LSD as a Schedule I drug, i.e., having the relatively highest abuse potential and no accepted medical use.
  • 1973: Creation of the US Drug enforcement agency
  • 1973: Beginning with Oregon, several states start adopting decriminalization policies throughout the decade.
  • 1975: Alaska Supreme Court decision grants privacy protection for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
  • 1989: Bush Declares New “War on Drugs”
  • 1996: California voters passed Proposition 215 allowing for the sale and medical use of marijuana for patients with AIDS, cancer, and other serious and painful diseases.
  • 2012: Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the sale and possession of cannabis for recreational use.
  • 2014: Florida enacts the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 providing limited access to medical marijuana for a limited patient population.
  • 2016: By a 71% margin, Florida voters pass Amendment 2, expanding access to medical marijuana.
  • 2017: After months of delay, the new law went into effect in October!
  • 2018 Judge strikes down ban on medical marijuana patients using cannabis in flower form in Florida