Weed History: America
- Weed History: America
- The United Kingdom’s Long History With Weed
Table Of Contents
- 1 Weed In Early America
- 2 Old School Medical Marijuana
- 3 Pre-Hippie Stoners
- 4 American Weed Gets Smushed
- 5 The Turning Point For Weed In The U.S.
- 6 Peace, Love, And Lots Of Weed
- 7 The War On Drugs
- 8 New School Medical Marijuana
- 9 Scientific Advancements In Weed History
- 10 New Devices & Old Favorites
- 11 Great Facts And Weed Stats
- 12 The Future Of Weed In America
Weed In Early America
The first real mention of Americans smoking weed that I could find dates back to around 1840. While weed had been used to get high by other civilizations for centuries before this time, America was a new frontier. I guess it just took the Americans a while to get their heads on straight!
Old School Medical Marijuana
Eating hash was one of the more popular ways to get high back then, but it wasn’t long after that when people started smoking hash and buds in order to get high. Cannabis based medicines, at that period in time, were mainly tinctures and serums. They were made very similarly to how tinctures are made today.
Although getting high from smoking or eating weed wasn’t as popular during the 1800′s and early 1900′s as it is now, using weed as a medicine was super popular. There have been over a thousand different weed medicines found from the turn of the century and on back through American history! Tinctures, ointments, balms, serums, drinks, and foods are just some of the ways weed was packaged as a medicine.
Some pretty famous people of long ago were rumored to have smoked weed (or eaten hash) purely for the purposes of getting high. Presidents, congressman, wealthy people, writers and painters just to name a few.
- Thomas Jefferson
- George Washington
- Nathaniel Folsom
- John Adams
- Samuel Adams
And the list goes on… Most people don’t realize that at the same time, and on the opposite end of the economic spectrum, slaves working the fields in the south often smoked weed to get rid of stress… and just to make them feel good! In fact, they used to sing about weed (reefer as it was known to the black jazz community) during the jazz era of the early 1900′s.
Some of those stories are true and documented, and some are based on strong here-say (early presidents and what not), but what we know for sure is that people in America have been getting high for centuries… And it looks like we’ll be getting high for many more years to come. note: You should check out a song called “Reefer Man” by Cab Calloway, – Circa 1933 – it’s pretty awesome
American Weed Gets Smushed
All good things must come to an end… Or something like that! Anyway, now that America had gotten a chance to have all that fun smoking reefer and comforting their sickness, the government decided it was time to make things suck… A LOT!
Around 1915 or so, getting high for non medical reasons was banned by some individual states, the first of which was California. Yep, that’s right, the first state to ban the recreational use of cannabis was the first state to (recently) try to make it legal again! Smoke on that for a minute!
You see, the government saw heavy open use of weed as a drug by the people they deemed “the lower class”. This, along with the failing prohibition of alcohol, made a few high-up people in the government pretty mad. They needed something to pick on, and that something was weed.
A guy named Harry Anslinger, along with Dupont and a hot mess of other people started a campaign to end the use of marijuana for good. They started with some major propaganda campaigns like Reefer Madness, and ended with lots of laws like the Marijuana Stamp Act (1937) and a few others that legally put a stop to Americans growing, selling, or even using weed for any reason. History blows sometimes, doesn’t it?
The Turning Point For Weed In The U.S.
So During the first half of the 20th century, weed got a pretty bad wrap. That’s ok, if history tells us anything, it’s that the sun will always come up again…
The federal government was putting out ridiculous amounts of anti-cannabis propaganda, while individual politicians and religious factions were pretty much focused on eradicating weed all together. And, for a time, all that effort they put forth was working… ’till the hippies blew their shit up!.
Peace, Love, And Lots Of Weed
There were lots of people that still got high before the hippies, but The counter-culture of the 60′s and 70′s brought weed back into the spotlight. Television, radio, print adds and magazines all began holding weed in a positive light for a change. Shit, High Times Magazine was born out of the early 70′s. And back then, it was actually a good magazine!!
The founder of the (once cool) Trans High Corporation – publishers of High Times Magazine – , Thomas Forcade, was a true hippie with an eye for business. He knew that this counter culture of kids and free thinkers were interested in very few things… free love, small government, music and of course … drugs.
He, along with many other hippie masterminds of the time helped fight against the American government. NORML was born during that time, and much of America embraced weed with open arms.
Did you know that during the height of the hippie movement, you could actually buy a pound of weed for less than $100? And I mean good weed. As history evolved though, into the 70′s and 80′s, weed prices went up at about 3 times the rate of other consumer products. This was due in large part to a second big crackdown.
It seems that American citizens and their government officials haven’t seen eye to eye for much time at all during the country’s short history. Who knew that a little harmless plant could inspire so much controversy?
The War On Drugs
The people had thought at one point that some politicians had begun to embrace the emerging culture of the 70′s. President Jimmy Carter even asked congress to get rid of sentencing for people caught with under an ounce (which they denied in the late 70′s). That is, some people thought that way until 1981.
Kicking the teeth out of the 80′s, President Regan started the “War On Drugs” and brought back mandatory minimum sentencing. He listed weed as a schedule 1 drug and started the most costly war in American (and weed) history. This has lead to the millions of arrests and prison terms served by Americans to date.
The war still has not stopped, the people haven’t stopped being arrested, and tax dollar amounts continue to rise as every president raises the budget for the War On Drugs. I could go into statistics, but those are boring so let’s just leave it at that…(Millions of people!)
Every time they push, though, we push back.
New School Medical Marijuana
One of the most influential battles won against the american government was the passing of prop 215 in California in 1996. Passing with a 56% margin, this law put medical cannabis back on the books. Thousands of weed dispensaries popped up over the next decade, and many many more states followed suit.
Prop 215 was a state law. That meant that even though California passed a law, saying that weed was cool under certain circumstances, doesn’t mean that the federal government had to abide by it. The DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies have continually raided the businesses owned by California residents along with residents of many other states.
Prop 19 (to legalize weed for recreational use) failed to pass for the second time in California in 2010. (There was a prop 19 in California in the early 70′s that failed to pass also!) So, for now, smoking just to get high isn’t legal anywhere in the United States.
However, the medical systems are so flawed in most states that the vast majority of “medical” patients are just recreational patients with a doctor’s note. So, if you really want to smoke legally but aren’t sick, move to one of the 17 states where it’s legal to smoke medicinal herb.
That comment aside, the people keep trying and the government keeps denying.
Scientific Advancements In Weed History
Since the time that weed was made illegal in America (and even before that), scientists and researchers have been studying it’s medicinal properties. Although the government has made it almost impossible, these researchers have uncovered extraordinary things that cannabis can do for and to the human body.
Weed can help alleviate pain, and may even be able to help cure cancer. It can help with:
- Psychotic Episodes
… and a myriad of other ailments. Smoking or ingesting weed can even serve as an aphrodisiac!
Mothers, sons, grandpas… Doctors, college kids, and even the guys that pick up the recycling cans… Everyone smokes weed, and it’s not always to relieve them from a medical condition. In fact, it rarely is.
So how is it fair that weed isn’t just legal? A ton of those same scientists have proven time and time again that weed is virtually harmless. That it’s negative effects are way less that those of tobacco and alcohol. I think the medical weed system was a step in the right direction, but it is undoubtedly flawed.
Whether or not you believe in or support the medical cannabis movement is a series of articles in and of itself. Facts are facts, and the research says that weed does have medical benefits. The research also says that weed shouldn’t be illegal (if alcohol isn’t!).
I for one am not a supporter of the movement, I am a Libertarian that thinks that it’s a person’s right to do with their body what they please as long as it’s not hurting anyone else.
So, rather than support the medical movement, I would much rather support the movement that makes sense, flat out legalization. Write to us and tell us how you feel about the current legal situation.
New Devices & Old Favorites
Throughout American history weed has been taken into the body in countless forms using countless tools. In fact, since the explosion in the 60′s, there have been hundreds of different devices created to help people ingest cannabis easier.
Pipes and rolling papers, yeah, ok, those have been around forever. Vaporizers (first used for weed in the mid 90′s) were created so that people didn’t have to inhale the tar. Hash oil (dabbing) has gotten popular as of late, giving people the opportunity to consume large amounts of cannabinoids with little effort.
(Hash oil has actually been around for a long time, Check this out if you really want to see some awesome stuff done with weed in the 60′s)
Oil pipes, hash pipes, dugouts, bongs, blunts, vaporizers, candy, desserts, papers, steam rollers, gravity bongs and the list goes on and on and on! Ingenuity at it’s finest. All of this time and effort and money put into building and making things that help us use an illegal drug! Now that’s what America stands for in my book.
Great Facts And Weed Stats
Maybe this big American weed prohibition will end some time soon. Maybe the federal government will release the hundreds of thousands of people currently jailed for crimes involving weed.
Prop 19 failed by 3 percent. That means if 2% of Californians voted the other way, prop 19 would have passed! Weed could be legal, some say, maybe even within the next 5 years in one or more states in America.
This means that the almost 40% of American kids that try weed before they exit high school may not have to worry about being criminals. This means that possibly the 15% of Americans that use weed recreationally on a regular basis may not have to live in fear of prosecution.
Weed has made the lives of literally millions of people better. I think that people just need to understand more about it before they judge. The average American does not smoke on a regular basis, so to make a decision, they need to ask questions. What would you ask the experts if you had a chance?
The Future Of Weed In America
Time can only tell what the future holds for weed in America. While we can’t predict the future, we can teach you everything you need to know about what’s going on with weed today. (and in the past!) Weedub is the only one who told you about weed history in America and made it fun, right?
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References And Credits
- I got a lot of really great information from a ton of credible resources, but "Cannabis: A History" by Martin Booth was by and far the best source of info for this article …Link