1937Marijuana tax introduced into the US – pay a dollar and you could legally grow and sell marijuana. Proof of paying the tax was a stamp; however, the Treasury did not issue any stamps.
1937First marijuana conviction; Samuel R Caldwell was convicted of selling the marijuana when not in possession of the tax stamp.
1944New York Mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, called for abolition of the tax stamp.
1950Harry J Anslinger claims that marijuana is a gateway drug to heroin.
1951Passing of the Boggs Act results in ruthless sentences for drug offenses because drugs were, apparently, a tool of Communist China.
1956Narcotic Control Act classifies marijuana as dangerous as heroin and penalties increase even further
1961Anslinger went to the United Nations and was successful in convincing more than 100 other countries to consolidate their drug laws with those of America, thereby creating a single convention. Thus marijuana became globally illegal
1972It is estimated that 24 million Americans had used marijuana
1972Don Crowe – Vietnam War veteran was sentenced to 50 years for selling 1 ounce marijuana. His customer was an undercover police officer and this was Crowe’s first offense.
1972The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse released a report that showed marijuana use did not lead to crime. The researchers also reported that police were selective in the people they targeted, going for people with a certain ‘look.’ President Nixon, who had commissioned report, decided to ignore the findings (he reportedly never read the report) and continued with his anti-marijuana crusade.
1972The Drug Enforcement Agency is created, pulling all the American drug resources into one agency. The DEA had the authority to enter homes without knocking.
1980sPresident Reagan is in power and there is a reported one arrest every 38 seconds for the violation of marijuana laws
1980sJudge Francis law recommends the reclassification of marijuana as a prescription drug. No action was taken.
1998Medical Marijuana becomes legal in Washington


California passes Proposition 215, allowing the use of medical marijuana

Use of medical marijuana becomes legal in Alaska

1999Use of medical marijuana legalized in Maine
1999Medical marijuana becomes legal in Oregon
2000Hawaii legalizes medical marijuana
2001Medical Marijuana becomes legal in Nevada
2003Medical marijuana becomes legal in Canada
2003Maryland approves the use of medical marijuana. This law requires the court to consider a defendant’s use of medical marijuana to be a mitigating factor in marijuana-related state prosecution. If the patient, post-arrest, successfully makes the case at trial that his or her use of marijuana is one of medical necessity, then the maximum penalty allowed by law would be a $100 fine.

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