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A Brief United States Marijuana History Guide

On April 20, 2017, marijuana enthusiasts will celebrate the national cannabis holiday known as "420." And with over half of U.S. states having some form of marijuana legalization, there will be a lot of celebrating.

That's why today, we want to share with Money Morning readers a brief U.S. marijuana history guide.

You see, the origin of cannabis use in the United States is unclear. According to Vice magazine, some believe Christopher Columbus brought cannabis with him to America in 1492.

marijuana history

Other theories suggest it was grown in Brazil and Chile in the 16th century and then spread from there. And a third theory is the growing hemp industry in American colonies in the 17th century led to the smoking of the cash crop.

But we do know how marijuana in America became illegal.

The Marijuana History Timeline in America

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established in 1930. And according to CNN, Commissioner Harry Ansliner argued for marijuana prohibition by playing on Americans' fears of immigrants and crime.

Ansliner reportedly told Congress that Mexican citizens sell marijuana cigarettes to "white high school students."

Special Report: Cannabis Is the Gold Rush of the 21st Century – 30 Stocks to Invest in Now

Then, in 1936, the film "Reefer Madness" was released to tarnish marijuana's reputation. The movie described cannabis as a "violent narcotic."

The negative press took its toll, and Congress passed the Marihuana (how it was spelled then) Tax Act in 1937.  This act effectively banned marijuana use and sales, according to It was eventually replaced by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

But it was around this time Americans began to question and even push back against marijuana laws. In October 1969, cannabis reform was the cover story for Life magazine. The magazine questioned if cannabis laws were too harsh.

Then, in 1973, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana.

By 1977, former President Jimmy Carter saw the rising popularity and medical uses of marijuana. He called for the elimination of federal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of cannabis.

However, it took more time for significant change. California residents voted to approve medical marijuana use in 1996. That was 22 years after President Carter called for the elimination of federal penalties.

Fast forward to 2012, and Washington and Colorado were the first two states to vote for and approve of recreational marijuana use. This past November, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts all voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

Today, 28 states and the District of Columbia have some form of marijuana legalization.

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You see, the vote across America for marijuana legalization is expected to create one of the biggest wealth grabs in history, transforming everyday Americans into millionaires overnight.

That's why Money Morning Director of Technology & Venture Capital Research Michael A. Robinson has created the "bible of weed investing" for our readers.

Here's everything you need to know about your next big profit opportunity…

How to Cash In on Marijuana Stocks

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. BRENDA D STEED | April 19, 2017

    Hi There:
    I am concerned what affect this marijuana is going to have on the youth of America 18 and above. I am from the sixties. Don't tell me that smokers of marijuana start off with weed and they move onto cocaine and herion. Did you know that 40,000 teenagers died of overdoses of herion in 2016 in one year. I think this started in the Obama adminstration this is just a socialistic agenda move on his part and the money hungry producers of marijuana went for it. They will become millionaires and the cost of many young people overdosing at 18+ years old. You should be ashamed of yourself. This marijuana thing needs to be stopped as our youth's future is in your hands…

    Brenda D Steed, BFA, CCNA, CCNT CCNP
    Certified Network Systems Technician

    • George | April 19, 2017

      Mdm Steed,
      I have no idea what Planet you came from but you obviously have not done any reading or research about Marijuana.

      Smoking Weed is questionable but Marijuana has tremendous medicinal benefits which neither Tobacco nor Alcohol have and yet no-one is publicly complaining about the atroceous harmful effects of these two Social Evils.

  2. John D. Mori | April 19, 2017

    Ms. Brenda D. Steed, BFA, CCNA, CCNT, CCNP, needs to take a chill pill. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and am living proof that "marijuana" is not the evil weed, she claims.

    John D. Mori

    P.S. I am already signed up for Money Morning newsletter.

  3. Scott Humphrey | April 20, 2017

    Wow to many people are so afraid of how it's going to effect people. I my self would love to be able to to get on the medical marijuana for my arthritis the pain sometimes is unbearable but the few times I've had the chance to smoke while my arthritis is flaring up the pain is basically not there. I just hope the goverment does not go and reverse all that has been accomplished.

  4. Jeff | April 20, 2017

    Brenda is right.Recreational use of marijuana is NOT good for society.Tobacco and alcohol haven't done enough damage so let's legalize pot.That will help right? We've lost our moral compass and common sense.Come quickly Lord Jesus!

  5. Kathryn Powers | April 21, 2017

    HMMJ is this missing infor for trading Canandian stock?

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