Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em | How (And Where) The Tides Are Changing For Marijuana

Health & Medical Blog

The tides are changing in favor of both medical and recreational marijuana. Before you grab a joint and light up, however, it would be best to know where marijuana has been and where it is going in the United States. 

Marijuana's History in the United States

The United States has always had a lukewarm relationship with Mexican immigrants. They are needed to work in the fields, but are often unfairly villainized. Even though marijuana was known to ease the pain of patients suffering from cholera, by 1910 many Americans claimed it made Mexican immigrants violent. They pushed to have the immigrants and their drug of choice removed. 

When the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed, it severely restricted the ability of doctors and others to cultivate and administer marijuana. While not illegal, the hefty fines associated with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 meant that it was it was essentially banned. 


Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, many states relaxed their stance on marijuana. This decriminalization reduced the penalties -- both fines and time in prison. In fact, Ann Arbor, Michigan, home to the University of Michigan, was one of the first places to do so voting in 1969 to make possession of marijuana a misdemeanor. The punishment has been a $5 fine ever since. This 'victory' -- called "Hash Bash" -- has been celebrated on the first Saturday in April on U of M's campus ever since. 

Legalizing Medical Marijuana

The tide started to turn again in favor of cannabis when states began legalizing medical marijuana in the mid-1990's. According to Princeton University, the American Medical Association (AMA) has long felt that cannabis was helpful in pain relief, but know state government's were coming around. California's Proposition 215 passed in 1996 and was the first time a law was passed to legalize medical marijuana.

The Beginning of the End

Each year, more and more states began the slow process of legalizing marijuana in their state. In the 2012 election, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana as well. By 2018, all but four states (Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas) have allowed some form of medical marijuana and ten states have voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Most states have an age requirement of 21, like consuming alcohol. 

The Future of Legalized Marijuana

While a recreational marijuana dispensary may not be popping up on your corner next week, experts expect there to be a snowball effect on the remaining hold-out states as public pressure mounts. The biggest necessary change, however, would be at the national level. Federal laws are currently in conflict with state laws regarding this controversial substance. 

Contact a recreational marijuana service for more help.


18 November 2018