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How do you undo decades of misinformation, false maligning, and damaging rumors?

That’s a question one could easily be asking about entire identities. But here, in The Green Wave, we’re asking it about cannabis. Just like Black and brown people, and many marginalized identities, cannabis has been misunderstood and inaccurately maligned for decades.

Let’s walk through history to see this truth. The following historical of pivotal s historical, which comes mainly from two main sources:  The National Library of Medicine, and Brittanica ProCon:

2900 B.C. (China) First used as medicine

1500 B.C. (Egypt) Used to treat depression, and as a topical for inflammation

23-79 (Roman Empire)  Used to treat gout, arthritis and inflammation. Some even ask, did the oil Jesus used include cannabis?


1221 (Paris) “Exhilarating” properties first noted.

1615-ish (U.S.) Settlers bring hemp to America.

1809 (India) “Resin”’s role noted in psychoactive effects.

1878 (England)  Queen Victoria uses cannabis to treat cough, stimulate appetite.

1900 (India) Used to treat bronchitis and asthma.

1911 (Massachusetts) State legislatures begin prohibiting three years before alcohol prohibition.

1930 (U.S.) Harry Anslinger becomes attorney general, creates Federal Bureau of Nartocits promotes “marijuana” over cannabis and hemp as part of anti-immigration stance.

1933 (U.S.) Publisher William Randolph Hearst pushes unsourced stories linking “marijuana” to insanity and crime.


1937 (U.S.) The Marijuana Tax Act is passed, a year after all states restrict cannabis. “Reefer Madness” is released.

1961 (worldwide)  The United Nations places marijuana in same category as heroine

1964 (Israel) THC is identified as the psychoactive element in marijuana.

1971 (U.S.) Declared Schedule 1 drug. Controlled Substances Act declares“no medical use.”

1973 (U.S.) Drug Enforcement Agency is created.

1985 (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration approves Marinol, derived from marijuana.

1990 (U.S.) Cannabinoid receptors in humans discovered.

1992 (Bulgaria) First endocannabinoids (human-made cannabinoids) identified.


1996 (California) First state to legalize medical marijuana.

Over the next 17 years, 20 more states legalize medical marijuana, including Illinois in 2013 and Iowa starting in 2014. In 2012, California and Colorado are the first states to legalize recreational cannabis.

2016  (U.S.) President Donald Trump decriminalizes hemp.

2020 (Illinois) Becomes the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. U.N. removes cannabis from Schedule IV restrictions.

2022  (Missouri) Becomes the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana. The U.S. House passes a bill to decriminalize marijuana.

A few things become clear through a historical look at cannabis: other cultures recognized its benefits centuries ago. And it was America that pushed a negative perception and policies towards the plant. It’s like we did to cannabis what we’ve done to so many cultures: we got all up in its business, marginalized it, and prevented the world from fully appreciating what it has to offer

Keep reading this column, and you’ll gradually balance out your perception of this natural healing element. Join us next month to read about the keys to responsible usage.