Brief History of Marijuana

  • Hemp has been utilized to make fabric as early as 8000-7000 B.C.
  • The first use of cannabis for medicinal purposes was recorded as 2700 B.C. by Shen Nung, one of the fathers of Chinese medicine.
  • In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII labels cannabis as an unholy sacrament of the satanic mass and issues a papal ban on cannabis medicines.
  • Most cultures viewed Hemp as a gift, or treasure, from the Divine Sprit, to be used during ceremonials, at which time it was either burned as incense, ingested for deep meditative and heighten awareness, smoked for pleasure, or worn for clothing during these ceremonies.
  • In 1563, Queen Elizabeth I ordered land owners with 60 acres or more to grow cannabis or face a 5 fine.
  • A western physician by the name of W.B. O'Shaughnessey published in 1839 of the benefits of cannabis for the treatment of rabies, rheumatism, epilepsy, and tetanus. He also reported that a tincture of hemp and alcohol taken orally was found an effective analgesic.
  • Mandatory cultivation of Hemp continued throughout the New World, the General Court in 1637 at Hartford Connecticut, and the Massachusetts courts in 1639 ordered all families to plant one teaspoon of hemp seed.
  • Until 1776 many colonies passed laws to encourage farmers to produce Hemp, Virginia designed laws to compel farmers, fining those who did not comply. Lobbyist were hired to promote, and education the public about the importance of Hemp. Books were published that wanted to establish Hemp as America's trademark product.
  • In preparation of war, mandatory cultivation laws were passed, and colonist increased their production of Hemp, for paper and clothes.
  • The founding fathers of this nation George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both promoters of Hemp, as noted in their farm diaries spoke of their experiences as Hemp farmers.
  • Jefferson, was also a promoter of Hemp, and during his tenure as Governor of Virginia he kept reserves of Hemp, and in May of 1781 used Hemp as currency when money from the government was in short supply.
  • In 1937 the Marijuana Tax Act HR 6385 was enacted, this required a $100 transfer tax on the sale of marijuana. The issue for those in opposition of this tax related to the underhanded manner in which this tax was enacted.
  • The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 outlawed marijuana on the national level. (Note that the US Government has traditionally used the spelling "marihuana".)