History of Cannabis
Cannabis, widely known as hemp or marijuana consists of 3 species and 7 subspecies. Throughout its history, it remains as one of the most widely cultivated plants with a fair share of controversies associated with it. Most of these arise as Marijuana is often associated with the hippie culture and being a junkie, but Cannabis has been used as a traditional, industrialized and botanical medicine overarching Asia, Africa, Europe and parts of America since thousands of years. Prehistorically, the Chinese were said to have used every part of the Cannabis plant: the root for medicine; the leaves and flowers for intoxication and medicine; the stem for textiles, rope and papermaking and the seeds for food and oil.
America is not been far behind when it comes to the use of this esoteric herb. Let’s find a bit about the American history of Cannabis through the ages
The late 1700s – Hemp, a non-psychotic variety of Cannabis- Sativa plant was a major US agricultural crop in Colonial America; harvested for high protein seeds, oil, fiber, ropes and cloths and its seeds were used to treat various health problems in America.
1906-1914 – The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) was formed in the USA in 1906. It was created to prevent a morphine addiction crisis in the country and properly regulate the addiction causing drugs like opium, morphine, and heroin. Meanwhile, marijuana entered America through illegal immigrants from Mexico, which in turn led to xenophobic roots of Marijuana as the natives of US saw people who smoked cannabis as inferior, troublesome and associated it with low-class criminals. In 1914, drug use under the Harrison Act was declared as a criminal activity.
1915-1937 – The campaign against marijuana continued. In 1936, Reefer Madness was released along with several other PSAs during this time. By 1937, 23 States outlawed Marijuana. The government also passed ‘The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937’ which effectively made possession or transfer of marijuana illegal throughout the United States under federal law, excluding medical and industrial uses (in a control and regulated form), through the imposition of an excise tax on all sales of hemp.
1970 – Marijuana is listed as a Substance 1 Drug with no medical use under the federal law, even though various American medical studies started listing the medical use of cannabis. It prevented any substantial government research study for cannabis up until recently.
In 1996, California became the very first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. Twenty years later, there is now a total of 29 states and Washington, D.C. which allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Recently in November 2016, Proposition 64, which legalizes recreational use of marijuana, was passed in California. Massachusetts and Nevada followed the trend and passed similar propositions for the legalization of recreational marijuana. 8 States now have legalized recreational use of marijuana for adults. The Adult use sales of marijuana will begin on Jan. 1, 2018.