The United States has a long and complicated history of hemp, marijuana, and cannabis. As American colonists began to establish settlements, hemp was a very prominent product in the New World. In fact, these early settlers were encouraged to grow cannabis for fiber to make shipping rope. In 1619, Virginia instituted a law mandating the growth of cannabis on every farm in the colony. However, everything changed when the psychoactive effect of the plant was discovered, combined with racist hysteria.
California was the first state to stamp out cannabis use and cultivation in 1913, ushering in a wave of cannabis bans across other states, including Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado. Things got heated after Harry Anslinger took over the office of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the precursor to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Anslinger was the first prominent law enforcement officer to unleash a raft of racists accusations targeting Hispanics, Black Americans, Filipinos, and entertainers for their use of marijuana. In 1937, Anslinger successes in getting Congress to pass a new law to make the selling of marijuana illegal in the United States.
And then, just five years later, the U.S. government actually encouraged the growth of hemp in during World War 2. This hemp was used to produce ropes, fire hoses, and other sail materials for the U.S. Navy. After WW2, the government made a U-turn on the regulations, halting all hemp farming again. Then, decades of prohibition were ushered in under the Nixon and Reagan administrations, even as many Americans claimed that cannabis was harmless and beneficial.
It took decades of activists working to change the laws, but finally California legalized medical marijuana in 1996. And ever since, other states have followed suit, with some going beyond merely decriminalizing cannabis to legalizing adult use cannabis without a medical need. Acknowledging its potential economic and health benefits, many states are now mulling over lifting existing prohibitions on cannabis. Currently, there are only 15 states that still consider the drug as illegal in any form, while 35 states allow medical marijuana and 15 states allow for adult use.
Lawmakers are legalizing cannabis
The trend to legalize began in America, but has now spread around the world. For instance, the Thai cabinet has recently pushed through a new set of regulations that would allow the production, import, and export of hemp in the country. This new ruling will overwrite the existing laws, allowing individuals and registered entities in Thailand to cultivate hemp for commercial use.
Such incremental progress towards legally permitting cannabis use does not stop here. The year 2021 will likely be the year that New York finally gives the green light to the recreational use of cannabis by adults.
The rise of cannabis legalization is driven by its potential economic and health benefits
Cannabis, hemp, and marijuana are terms get thrown around interchangeably even though there is a great and significant difference in the meanings. Simply put, cannabis is merely a plant that both hemp and marijuana derive from. More specifically, cannabis is a generic name referring to a group of plants that consists of different varieties. Hemp is defined by US federal law as any cannabis plant with a delta-9 THC level not above 0.3 percent. Marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law but is legal for medical use in at least 35 states, typically has a THC level in excess of 10 percent.
Experts claim that medical marijuana and natural products that contain cannabis extracts can help with a wide range of conditions CBD capsules are touted to have a range of potential health benefits.* CBD, which stands for Cannabidiol, is an extract of hemp, and it does not give the “high” sensation that marijuana does.
There has been a growing momentum towards legalizing cannabis in the United States. That’s because the public’s perception of marijuana use has changed. People have started associating cannabis with positive changes in health and realizing that cannabis is not as harmful as we were told in the past. Considering the rate at which the states have been legalizing marijuana use, it is just a matter of time before cannabis becomes legal in the United States.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.