Cannabis was at one point freely cultivated and used in the U.S. What happened? Here we take a look at the history of marijuana law in America. After decades of cannabis prohibition in the United States, it may be hard to imagine that for the majority of the nation’s history, cannabis was widely accepted and used for medicinal purposes. Up until the twentieth century, cannabis was freely cultivated and used to produce medications, rope, and textiles.So what happened? Why did marijuana become illegal and criminalized?
Most people assume that cannabis was made illegal through a process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings that concluded prohibition was best to protect citizens. The reality, however, is a different story.In the midst of these changing social attitudes and state laws, it’s worth looking into what brought about American marijuana prohibition in the first place.
According to authors and historians Laurence French and Magdaleno Manzanárez, hemp – a sustainable and versatile crop with over 24,000 product applications. — was becoming a cheaper substitute for wood pulp used to print newspapers, and Hearst and the others who had lumber and paper holdings were looking to destroy the competition.Hearst launched an aggressive crusade against marijuana through his newspapers and magazines, which regularly published sensational stories about the threat of marijuana and the life-threatening plight of those who used the drug.
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