People have been using marijuana and hemp for generations upon generations. In addition to being used as a medicine and as a recreational drug, people have also used the hemp plant for rope, sails, clothing, and all sorts of other goods.
The plant’s history dates back thousands of years, and in the grand scheme of things, it has only been illegal for a small increment of time relative to its total history. Hemp clothing traces date back six millennia, but back in the early days, it may not have been as commonly used as a psychoactive substance. Either way, when you consider that marijuana has only been illegal for less than 100 years out of an estimated 8,500 or so years that it has been around, the substance has only been illegal for about 1% to 1.5% of its life.
The time period between the 1900s through 1940s was when marijuana really started to get a bad rep. In 1906, the “Pure Food and Drug Act” made it so any over-the-counter products containing cannabis had to be labeled. Between this act, the Mexican Revolution and the heavy immigration that followed, and anti-drug fear mongers, the public started to see the drug in a negative light. By the late 1930s, the “Marijuana Tax Act” had set the stage for illegal marijuana.
Between that late 1930s and today, marijuana advocates have worked to reverse this decision. From the peaceful protests and movements in the ’60s and ’70s, to the texts and books written by legalization advocates, those who are pro-legalization have always worked toward this common end goal. Why, all of the sudden, are pro-legalization groups starting to see success after all these years?