What is the History of Marijuana?

Cannabis has long been a source of medicinal remedy as well as recreational enjoyment. Its use can be traced back to ancient China, where it was included in the Emperor Shen Nung’s pharmacopeia in 2800 BC. Marijuana was brought to America by the British in the early 17th century and quickly emerged as a leading trade crop grown for its fiber.

Cannabis Uses Across the Centuries

In 1890 hemp replaced cotton as the primary commercial crop of the south. Marijuana, along with cocaine and opium, was routinely used as a medicinal treatment. By the 1920s, marijuana was a favorite among jazz musicians as a recreational drug. At that time, consumption was completely legal. It wasn’t until the 1930s that The Federal Bureau of Narcotics turned their collection attention to marijuana, creating the image of an addictive, destructive, gateway drug.

Pot’s Path to Becoming Criminalized

Once cannabis was linked to crime and Mexican immigrants, the propaganda became mainstream. Cannabis was officially outlawed by the federal government in 1937. During the 50s and 60s, marijuana use was incorporated into the emerging hippie culture. These young people represented rebellion against the establishment, a criticizing voice against the Vietnam war and an unwillingness to conform. The government saw this as proof of the dangers of marijuana use.

How Marijuana Became Legalized in New Mexico

The Controlled Substance Act classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug in 1970. Lumped in with heroin and LSD, cannabis was considered equally as harmful. The first medical marijuana dispensary opened in San Francisco in 1991. The Cannabis Buyers Club was established to provide treatment for AIDS patients. In 2007, New Mexico became the 12th state to legalize medical use. As of June 29, 2021, cannabis is legal to purchase and possess for adults 21 years or older in New Mexico.

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