The Road to Legalization

Prohibition Began
in August 1937

With the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, the federal government made it illegal to cultivate cannabis or hemp without possession of a tax stamp. Though this wasn't true prohibition, they failed to issue a single tax stamp - thus effectively pushing the seed of a great American industry deep underground.

With America leaping into World War II in 1941, the need for supplies soon outweighed political rationale - and by 1942, the Hemp for Victory video hit airwaves to kickstart a new agenda: farmers should grow hemp for America!

Hemp Succeeded
in the 1940s

Hemp Succeeded
in the 1940s

With America leaping into World War II in 1941, the need for supplies soon outweighed political rationale - and by 1942, the Hemp for Victory video hit airwaves to kickstart a new agenda: farmers should grow hemp for America!

Marijuana Restricted
in the 1950s

In 1951, the Boggs Act established minimum prison sentences for simple possession and Congress decided to include marijuana in the Narcotics Control Act of 1956, resulting in stricter mandatory sentences for marijuana-related offenses. This decade stifles the growth of the cannabis industry in America.

In 1964 Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, identifies delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as the main psychoactive component of cannabis. The University of Mississippi begins growing cannabis as the only DEA-registered cultivator in 1968, 

Cannabinoids Studied
in the 1960s

Cannabinoids Studied
in the 1960s

In 1964 Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, identifies delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as the main psychoactive component of cannabis. The University of Mississippi begins growing cannabis as the only DEA-registered cultivator in 1968, 

Marijuana is a Drug
in the 1970s

Congress passes the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)  as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, and President Richard Nixon declares a "War on Drugs" a year later on June 17, 1971. The DEA is established in 1973 and NIDA in 1974 to control research cannabis production.

The IND program admitted seven patients and began providing NIDA-produced cannabis as medicine in 1978. A study in 1980 demonstrated patient preference for botanical THC over synthetics. But, 1985 saw the FDA approval of Marinol (synthetic THC) and Pres. Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1986.

Synthetic MMJ
in the 1980s

Synthetic MMJ
in the 1980s

The IND program admitted seven patients and began providing NIDA-produced cannabis as medicine in 1978. A study in 1980 demonstrated patient preference for botanical THC over synthetics. But, 1985 saw the FDA approval of Marinol (synthetic THC) and Pres. Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1986.

Discovery & Denial
in the 1990s

In 1990, National Institute of Mental Health discovered the cannabinoid system and then anadamide, the first endocannabinoid, two years later. Federal IND program terminated in 1992. California legalizes MMJ in 1996, but feds deny scientific evidence of MMJ in 1997. Marinol moved to schedule III with approval of DEA and DoH.

By November of 2000, eight states already recognized the medical use of marijuana. In 2002, Conant v. Walters protects physicians who recommend cannabis. Then, US Dept. of Health is awarded patent US 6,630,507 B1 for the therapeutic use of "cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants." 

MMJ Expands in Early 2000s

MMJ Expanded
in Early 2000s

By November of 2000, eight states already recognized the medical use of marijuana. In 2002, Conant v. Walters protects physicians who recommend cannabis. Then, US Dept. of Health is awarded patent US 6,630,507 B1 for the therapeutic use of "cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants." 

MMJ vs. the Law
2005 - 2011

In 2005, Supreme Court rules Congress may ban marijuana use in Gonzalez v. Raich and massive raids hit dispensaries in San Diego. In 2006 the FDA declares marijuana smoke harmful. In 2008, California clarifies state laws and the Ogden Memo protects state-MMJ from DOJ a year later. Thirteen states have MMJ.

By 2012, fifteen states have legalized medical marijuana; Colorado and Washington legalize adult use that same year. In 2013,the Cole Memo offers protection for state-sanctioned marijuana laws. By 2017, 29 states have medical marijuana laws enacted and 9 states have legalized recreation use.

Legalization Approved
on Nov 6th, 2012

Legalization Approved
on Nov. 6, 2012

By 2012, fifteen states have legalized medical marijuana; Colorado and Washington legalize adult use that same year. In 2013, the Cole Memo offers protection for state-sanctioned marijuana laws. By 2017, 29 states have medical marijuana laws enacted and 9 states have legalized recreation use.

California Legalizes
on Jan. 1, 2018

With the passage of Proposition 64, California legalized the adult-use of cannabis. As the sixth largest economy in the world, the state is estimated to collect around  $643 million in tax revenue by the close of 2018. As of January 1, 2018 - nine states are legal and 29 states support medical marijuana.