Marijuana in America Timeline

1600: Widespread use of hemp for rope, cloth, sails, etc.

1619: Growing marijuana is a requirement for every able farmer in the Virginia Colonies.

1906: The Pure Food and Drug Act requires any product sold with cannabis as an ingredient must indicate so on the label.

1910: Widespread use of recreational marijuana across the country.

1930: Creation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). Harry J. Aslinger appointed first commissioner.

1931: The Uniform State Narcotic Act requires states to manage the use of marijuana.

1936: Reefer Madness released in theaters.

1937: The Marihuana Tax Act renders marijuana illegal, restricts possession and use to medical purposes.

1943: U.S. Government promotes “Hemp for Victory” program to help defeat Axis powers in WWII. American farmers harvest 375,000 acres of hemp for use as medicine, rope, parachutes, etc.

1944: The controversial La Guardia Report scientifically determines that marijuana is less dangerous than previously believed. In the same year the New York Academy of Medicine performs an extensively researched report showing no link between marijuana and violence, insanity, sex crimes or addiction to hard drugs.

1952: Boggs Act introduces harsher sentences for marijuana possession.

1956: Narcotic Control Act requires mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession.

1968: FBN merges with Food and Drug Administration.

1969: President Nixon declares War on Drugs.

1970: Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act eliminates most mandatory prison sentences for marijuana and separates plant from categorization of hard drugs like heroin or methamphetamines.

1972: The Schafer Commission reports personal use of marijuana should be decriminalized. Eleven states reduce penalties for marijuana possession.

1973: Creation of Federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

1986: Anti-Drug Abuse Act brings back mandatory sentences for marijuana possession, makes marijuana equivalent to heroin in regards to law enforcement, and qualifies marijuana offenses as a three-strikes category.

1996: Medical use of marijuana legalized in California with passage of Compassionate Use Act.

2009: California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduces bill titled Marijuana Control, Education and Regulation Act to legalize the plant and tax the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. House Bill

2929 and Senate Bill 1801 introduced separately to the Massachusetts legislature to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational and commercial use.

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