Cannabis has been used for medicinal, religious, and recreational purposes for thousands of years. The earliest known use of cannabis dates back to ancient China, which was used as a medicinal herb as early as 2737 B.C. It was used in religious ceremonies and was considered a sacred plant in ancient India. The plant was also used for its fibers to make clothes, rope, and paper. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, cannabis was widely used as a medicine in the Western world, but its use became controversial in the 1930s with the rise of recreational use and concerns about its potential harm. The United States passed the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, which effectively criminalized cannabis. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a resurgence of interest in the medicinal use of cannabis and some states decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug. In recent years, several states in the US have legalized cannabis for therapeutic and/or recreational use.
History of Cannabis in the USA
Cannabis has had a complex history in the United States. Prior to the 20th century, cannabis was widely used for medicinal and industrial purposes. In the late 1800s, however, concern began to grow about the use of the drug and its potential harms, particularly in relation to its use by immigrants. In the early 1900s, several states began to pass laws criminalizing cannabis possession and use. In 1937, the US government passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which effectively criminalized cannabis at the federal level.
During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a resurgence of interest in the medicinal use of cannabis and some states began to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Since then, several other states have followed suit, and as of 2021, 36 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medicinal use, and 15 states and D.C. have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
However, it is important to note that cannabis is still illegal under federal law, and possession, use, and sale of the drug can result in criminal penalties. The current administration under President Joe Biden has not announced any major changes in the federal policy towards cannabis.