Marijuana Legalization History

Marijuana Legalization History

There has always been a lot of controversy whether the consumption of marijuana is right or wrong. Regardless if it’s for recreational or medical purposes, it has always been a very controversial topic. Marijuana had been criminalized some time ago. Nowadays though the fight for its legalization has been progressing. However, its practice is still frowned upon. In the United States, Marijuana usage for medical applications started to become legalized. This article will discuss the marijuana legalization history.

The time where Marijuana fell

Legalized US

Currently, there are many states in the US that allow medical marijuana use. However, there are only few that allow recreational use of marijuana. There are currently 4 states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington), and Washington D.C. that allow recreational use of marijuana. Other states are currently looking into amending their stance on the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Though back at the start of its legalization, a lot already knows the medical use of marijuana. The start of the restrictions and slow legalization, started as far back as 1906. Officially, the legalization of marijuana is with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Marijuana in the Old Days

The negative perception on marijuana during the earlier years had put its legality behind the bars, not having any exemption even for medical purposes.

Human rights in the United States

During the mid 1960s, roughly around 3 decades after the start of marijuana’s legalization, there are those who saw Marijuana as not as harmful and dangerous unlike today’s generation. During that time, the college students have started taking part to its increasing popularity as they see it to be not as dangerous as what the law suggests. However, people were starting throw questions as to why marijuana was illegal in the first place. And those who were questioning the prohibition of marijuana are not just those who were involved with marijuana but as well as those who are part of the large magazines such as Newsweek.

Around the 1960’s up to 1970’s, more cannabis related arrests happened because of how people were using marijuana illegally. This is just one of the few incidents that pushed other people to question the legality of marijuana. With this, movements were formed like “Hippie“. Hippie is a popular movement in the past as they were liberal counterculture which are one of the biggest supporters of marijuana as well.

Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970

During 1969, the former Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 is unconstitutional. It is in replacement with the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 which others see as the most reasonable law inline with drug control. With this bill, drugs are accepted for medical use and is tagged as safety as long as it is under medical supervision.

The “Just Say No” Era

Just Say NoDespite the rise of marijuana at the 60’s and 70’s, when 1980 came, marijuana was not in the stage light anymore. There was the famous “Just say No” campaign that was popularized by Nancy Reagan, the former first lady of the US. She is popular for saying the following lines:

“A little girl raised her hand and said, ‘Mrs. Reagan, what do you do if somebody offers you drugs?’ And I said, ‘Well, you just say no.'”

It created a counter movement to marijuana which brought the marijuana down even though its popularity around the people is high.

Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 and The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

Both the these acts from 1984 and 1986 are to control the marijuana addiction. Those who will violate the said acts will be facing charges. Depending on the weight of crime, people who commits such crime might be up for death penalty.

The Marijuana Legalization

The first ever state to legalize the use of marijuana is Ravin V of Alaska Supreme Court back in 1975.

With the legalization of sale and as well as possession on State level, both the Colorado and Washington was both the first one implement. Colorado with the Colorado Amendment 64 and Washington with the Washington Initiative 502 on November 6, 2012 were the bill that was implemented. These bill states to treat the marijuana as the same with the alcohol restrictions. The thing about these bill is it is only under restriction for 21 years below.

Alaska and Oregon legalized the use of marijuana on November 4, 2014, the same with Colorado and Washington as well. Following their lead, a lot of state have finally accepted Medical Marijuana legalization as well numbering to 28 states on the same year.

Final Thoughts

The approach of laws and the public perception of marijuana have been rough from the start. Partly, it is due to the media and culture back in the days. As the time goes by, the situation slowly improved. People are starting to recognize the necessary acts when it comes to marijuana. Though there are still states that does not support the legalization of marijuana, the medical applications of marijuana seemed to lighten the restriction. There are still debate on each of the state, so we will have to see in the future.




About the Author


I’m a pretty chill dude who likes to smoke God’s gift from time to time. I like to write about different topics about marijuana to educate, entertain, and inform others who also like to light up and blow some smoke. Enjoy...