The history of cannabis dates back thousands of years. Archeologists found cannabis seeds inside Siberian burial mounds from 3000 B.C. Thousands of years ago, the Chinese used cannabis as a medicine. Cannabis even found its way to Colonial America as well. George Washington used to grow hemp at his house on Mount Vernon.
History shows that cannabis has been prescribed to treat ailments for thousands of years. The plant has only been illegal for around 100 years. Doctors regularly gave cannabis to patients to treat symptoms of inflamed skin, chronic pain, and nausea.
How did Cannabis Become Illegal?
In 1861, a farmer from Bologna manufactured a decorticator which gave famers the ability to process hemp in a cost-effective manner. The decorticator was about to revolutionize the way hemp related products were made and in the mid-1900s the cover of a magazine called Popular Science said, “Hemp the new billion-dollar product.”
William Randolph Hurst owned a paper mill and was very well connected with high ranking government officials. Hurst started printing stories about a new drug called marijuana which was not even a slang term for cannabis at the time.
The stories said that marijuana was a type of Mexican wild tobacco and “Blacks and Mexicans would smoke it and rape white women.” Congress ended up making marijuana illegal without even realizing they were making hemp illegal.
A marijuana revolution
The marijuana train has left the station and we are in the early innings of a cannabis revolution. Public support for legal cannabis has never been higher and in October, the Gallup poll found that public support for legal cannabis reached 60%.
In February, a new Quinnipiac poll found 71% of Americans would oppose a federal crackdown on legal cannabis, and 93% are in favor of medical cannabis.
This revolution is not just taking place in the United States. We are seeing marijuana reform taking place all around the world. In 2014, Uruguay legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. Israel, Canada, and the Netherlands all have legal medical marijuana programs. Portugal and several other countries have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Cannabis is Here to Stay
Currently, 29 states have legalized medical cannabis and eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis.
The passing of recreational cannabis has set off a chain reaction and we have seen an increase in the number of states passing cannabis ballots initiatives. This momentum leads us to believe that the cannabis industry in the United States is here to stay.
Cannabis in the United States has quickly become more than a means for people to get high. The industry has blossomed into the fastest growing in world and has created over 100,000 jobs and led to an increase in the amount of tax dollars being collected by states.