Why Is Cannabis Even Illegal In The First Place?


          Though changing daily, the view on cannabis was once grim, with history telling the tale of a drug that induces illicit thoughts and behaviors. However, nowadays, cannabis is becoming more widely used, and society’s viewpoints and beliefs are changing with the times. While still technically illegal at the federal level, more and more states are warming up to the idea of legalization and have already implemented steps towards that. But have you ever wondered, how exactly did a drug that the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration says has NEVER caused a death from overdose, become such a stigma to our society? Although there are medical professionals that stand by the healing powers of cannabis, over the years, the government has held firm on their beliefs and laws regarding the sale and use of cannabis, but where did the laws come from? 

          Let’s start at the beginning, because before all the commotion, Marijuana was actually very legal, and in some places, it was illegal NOT to grow a hemp plant. Cannabis has been used for centuries for its healing and medicinal uses, dating back to ancient times, where religions, like Hinduism, have gods depicted with this mystical plant. Not only is it used to treat anxiety by calming the nerves, it can aid with insomnia, and poor appetite as well. This amazing plant can also help to treat chronic pain, glaucoma, and whole other slew of medical conditions, making this plant a go-to for traditional healers. Today, hemp can be found in clothing, accessories, papers, all kinds of things, and Cannabis can be found in many different forms, you can smoke it, eat it, the options are endless. While cannabis does have strong effects on the body, these effects are considered natural, and are revered by many who truly rely on the power of this plant for healing. 

          It’s the early 1900’s, just after the turn of the century, the 1910 Mexican Revolution has just taken place, and large numbers of Mexican immigrants are flooding into the United States. With them comes cultural practices and beliefs, traditional foods and recipes, and the gem of the hour, Marihuana, an herbal remedy in Mexico. Some use it to cure ailments, some use it to help them sleep, and some to stabilize their moods. Whatever the reason it was being used, the United States government did not approve, and in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed. This act banned the use and sale of marijuana, and charged $1 tax on anyone who did sell, grow, or purchase the herb legally. That’s in stark contrast to 1619 when Virginia law stated that colonists were legally required to grow hemp. How had America fallen so far? Well, the sad reality is that racism was the cause of the Prohibition of marijuana.  Rumors set ablaze that marijuana was being used by Mexican immigrants to entice school-aged children, commit violent crimes, and in 1931 a study was published linking cannabis to criminal activities primarily by minorities. There were claims that marijuana makes men of color more violent, provoking them to solicit sex from white women, and even against the advice of the American Medical Association, who argued the racist claims about the plant, marijuana was still banned. The Bureau of Narcotics was created with Harry Anslinger as the commissioner, and the war on weed continued with Anslinger being quoted saying “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men”. With strict enforcement and hefty penalties, such as minimum $2,000 fine, or up 5 years in prison, marijuana was deemed a Schedule I drug. Society believed that marijuana was amongst the most dangerous drugs of our time, and for that, that beautiful plant has been shunned. With all the advancements in the industry today, was it really such a bad thing? If it was, how come it’s suddenly ok now? 

          As of November 2020, these are the states that have legalized Marijuana for recreational, use: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. In addition to these legalizations for recreational use, which would also cover medical use as well, these 20 states have legalized Medicinal Marijuana only: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia. While nothing big has happened in Washington since the 2018 federal legalization of hemp, and in a way, CBD, politicians continue to debate cannabis at a low-level hum, which is an improvement, relatively speaking. President Trump has respected the rights of each state to decide for themselves in regards to the legalization of cannabis, and while we’re moving slowly as a country, we are getting there slowly! 

          Clearly, we’ve made strides in terms of where we stand as a country on the topic of Cannabis, and while there is still a large stigma behind associating with good old mary jane, much of the country, if not the world, is starting to develop interest in the highest herb. With google searches rising surrounding various cannabis related topics, such as how to roll a joint, or how to use a glass bong, people are definitely curious, and frowned upon or not, the promotion of cannabis and cannabis related products is becoming more and more popular. With major changes in legalization around the country, the industry is changing rapidly, and more cannabis related businesses are opening up now than ever before....so what are you waiting for? Jump in! 

Check out our article about the Cannabis Market Trends for 2021! 


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