It’s estimated that marijuana has been used in various ways since the time of ancient China. The first known recorded use of it was during the reign of Chinese Emperor Shen Neg in 2737 B.C. At that time it came in the form of tea and was used to treat everything from malaria to rheumatism, gout and more.
The medicinal properties of marijuana made it become popular up and down the coast of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It was even adopted by certain Indian Hindu sects as part of their religion and utilized as a way to reduce stress. It was commonly used by ancient physicians in Rome and Greece for pain relief and more.
During the 1500s cannabis plants began being grown in the western hemisphere. Spanish traders took the plant to Chile where it was utilized as a type of fiber called hemp. In North American the cannabis plat was grown on many farms and plantations to be used for everything from paper to rope and even clothing.
It’s popularity as a way to make rope hit a peak during World War II. During this time the US government planted large hemp crops to meet the needs of rope for the United States Navy. This was in response to the hemp supplies that were controlled by Japan.
During the late 1700s doctors in colonial America published medical journals advising that hemp seed and roots were effective in the treatment of everything from incontinence to inflamed skin, venereal disease and more. An Irish doctor by the name of William O’Shaughnessy popularized marijuana as treatment for cholera and tetanus.
Marijuana was used in the American medicine as a pharmacopeia from the 1800s until the early 1940s. It was also commonly used as an intoxicant from the 1800s until the 1930s. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics began to label marijuana as an addictive drug that would cause users to become addicts. In 1937 the Marihuana Tax Act was passed. This made it a federal crime to use marijuana for anything but medical purposes.
During the 1950s marijuana usage was adopted as the illegal drug of choice by members of the beat generation. When the 1960s came along marijuana usage became acknowledged as way youth rebelled against authority.
In 1970 marijuana was labeled as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. It was believed that cannabis was as addictive as heroin and had no known real medical uses. During this time Mexico was a major supplier of marijuana. In 1975 the Mexican government attempted to wipe out their cannabis crops by spraying them with a toxic herbicide. This resulted in Columbia becoming the top supplier of marijuana around the world.
During the 1980s the Regan administration passed strict laws with mandatory punishments for possessing marijuana. There was also an increased effort at preventing smuggling through America’s southern border. This caused a dramatic increase in growing marijuana plants within the United States.
During the decade that followed the consumption of marijuana decreased. During the 1990s the popularity of smoking marijuana again was on the increase and especially with teenagers.
During 2012 the U.S. Justice Department stated that it would no longer try and prosecute medical-marijuana users or distributors as long as they were following their state’s laws.
California became the first state to make medical usage of marijuana a legal activity in 1996. Since then other states have passed similar laws and at the present time there are approximately 13 states that permit physicians to write prescriptions for medical marijuana. It is used for a variety of conditions including glaucoma, AIDS treatments and more.
Those who criticize making medical marijuana legal claim it has made acceptance of illegal drugs a part of the American culture. It’s estimated that there may be as many as a thousand illegal marijuana shops in just the county of Los Angeles.