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A Brief History of Cannabis in the U.S. & CA
The Jamestown settlers brought marijuana plants to North America in 1611 and, throughout the colonial period of American history ranging until 1762, hemp fiber was an important export.
English clergymen and Oxford scholar Robert Burton suggests cannabis as a treatment for depression in his influential and still popular 1621 book, “The Anatomy of Melancholy.” Also, the British herbalist Nicholas Culpiper wrote in his 1652 book, “The English Physician”, that hemp extract “allayeth inflammation in the head, eases the pain of gout, knots, joints and the pains of the sinews and hips.”
In 1762, the new American colony of Virginia awarded bounties for hemp culture and manufacture, and even imposed penalties on those who did not produce hemp.
George Washington kept farm diaries between 1745 and 1774 that indicate he grew hemp at Mt. Vernon, his private plantation, for about thirty years. According to his agricultural logs, he had a particular interest in the medicinal uses of cannabis and was indeed growing both hemp and high-THC cannabis. According to Thomas Jefferson’s farm log, he also grew hemp at Monticello.
Cannabis entered in the United States Pharmacopeia in 1854, which listed cannabis as treatment for numerous afflictions, including neuralgia, typhus, cholera, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, leprosy, the pains of labor, and several others. Cannabis tincture was patented. It was then removed in 1941 due to the Controlled Substances Act.
The Controlled Substance Act successfully suppressed access and education surrounding plant medicines, specifically cannabis. Which was purposefully called Marijuana in efforts to deter use through racist associations.
Activists like Dennis Perron and people like yourself helped push through a San Francisco ordinance that allowed the use of medical marijuana. This was seen as a precursor to the statewide legalization of medical cannabis in 1996 with the passage of California Proposition 215. California was the first state to do so!
Today, medical cannabis is legal in most U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Many states are steadily expanding access to cannabis via Adult Use Cannabis regulations regularly being introduced and implemented.
On November 8 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, which entitled the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act ("AUMA"). California is one of the eight states and districts to legalize cannabis "recreationally."
Only time will tell where the trajectory of cannabis and its myriads of therapeutic effects lead us!
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