It Was Medicine First

So how did a plant that had been known to heal and treat people of their ailments for thousands of years turn into Public Enemy No. 1?

Cannabis in the 1800-1900s

1850: Cannabis is added to US Pharmacopeia
1893-1894: Indian Hemp Commission Report is published
1906: The Food and Drug Act (FDA) was created.

Cannabis in the 1900s

1911: Massachusetts became the first state to ban cannabis.
1912: International Opium Convention was created to regulate “hard drugs.
1914: Harrison Narcotics Act was passed.

Cannabis in the 1920s

1920: The 18th amendment was ratified, and the United States went dry.
1925: The International Opium Convention agreed to ban exports of “Indian Hemp” to countries that prohibited use.
1925: Marijuana On Trial: The Panama Canal Zone Report is published

The God Father of the Cannabis Prohibition

• 1930: The Narcotics Bureau is an agency established to enforce the Harrison Act. The bureau is directed by Harry J. Anslinger, who had been an assistant commissioner of prohibition. Anslinger with his new position used fear tactics, racial bias and a lack of research to criminalize cannabis and its users.

Yes, He Actually Said These Things

“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,”

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

Call it What It Is


  • Weed
  • Chronic
  • Marijuana
  • Pot


Cannabis in the 1930s

1933: 29 states including California, criminalized the plant.
1935: Uniform State Narcotic Law, courtesy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is passed.
1936: Reefer Madness, a propaganda film is released.
1936: Bureau of Narcotics publishes Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs

Cannabis & The Marihuana Tax Act

1937: The Marihuana Tax Act is passed. This required importers to register and pay an annual tax of $24.
May 4, 1937: American Medical Association opposes the proposed Marihuana Tax Act


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