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A Timeline Of Marijuana Use In The U.S. – Infographic

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joint teen use marijuanaThe political discussion regarding decriminalizing marijuana use is centuries old, yet remains a hot-button issue even today. Where did it all start? Are we heading for a full legalization of marijuana throughout the country? Let’s explore some of these questions, as well as a quick look at the increase of its use in the U.S.

Reefer Madness?

18.9 million
– The number of marijuana users (occasional and daily) in the U.S. This accounts for 7.3% of the population.
42%
– The percentage of Americans 12 and older who have used marijuana at one point in their lives
4.4 million
– The increase in marijuana users from 2007 to today
48.3%
– Percentage of drug arrests involving marijuana
1 in 3
– Americans who live in states where pot is legal for medical uses
333,578
– Americans admitted to treatment programs for marijuana abuse or addiction in 2011, though chemical addiction to the drug remains a debatable issue
Washington and Colorado
– The only two states that have legalized the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana

Medicinal Marijuana

– Marijuana isn’t always used for recreation. Its euphoric “high” is often utilized as a natural painkiller for various diseases. But only select states hold the right to disperse it to patients.
There are currently 20 states that allow the use of medicinal marijuana, including D.C. 
– Alaska
– Arizona
– California
– Colorado
– Connecticut
– D.C.
– Delaware
– Hawaii
– Illinois
– Maine
– Massachusetts
– Michigan
– Montana
– Nevada
– New Hampshire
– New Jersey
– New Mexico
– Oregon
– Rhode Island
– Vermont
– Washington
Diseases/conditions for which medicinal marijuana can be prescribed:
– AIDS (HIV)
– Alzheimer’s disease
– Arthritis
– Crohn’s disease
– Epilepsy
– Glaucoma
– Hepatitis C
– Migraines
– Multiple sclerosis
– Nausea due to chemotherapy
– Tourette’s syndrome
– Those with terminally ill cancers/conditions

Back in the Day

– Where did it all start? Here is a brief timeline of marijuana production and use in the U.S.
1890s 
– After the Civil War, marijuana is sold in many over-the-counter medicinal products, and hemp is still a common element in clothes manufacturing.
1906 
– The Pure Food and Drug Act is passed, requiring any product with cannabis in it be labeled appropriately.
1920s 
– After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants migrate to the United States. Recreational use of marijuana spikes, and the drug becomes associated with the immigrant population.
1930 
– The Federal Bureau of Narcotics is established, and the federal criminalization of marijuana looms.
1931 
– The list of states outlawing marijuana rises to 29 as fear and resentment of Mexican immigrants increases during the Great Depression.
1936 
– “Reefer Madness,” the propaganda film intent on scaring middle class white citizens into fearing marijuana use, is released.
1950s 
– Federal mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession and use are established.
1960s 
– Recreational use of marijuana increases and creeps into upper-class America. But its effects are scientifically studied and shown not to induce violence.
1970s 
– Many mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana are repealed, and for the first time marijuana is differentiated from other more harmful drugs.
1986 
– President Ronald Reagan promises to get tough on marijuana use and introduces new federal minimum mandatory sentences.
1996 
– California’s Proposition 215 allows marijuana to be used as a painkiller for various diseases, include AIDS and cancer.
2000 to 2011 
– More than a dozen states vote to decriminalize marijuana for medical uses. But because of federal laws, marijuana use and possession still remain chargeable offenses.
2012 
– Washington and Colorado become the first two states to legalize recreational use of marijuana for some adults.

The Doobie Debate: Dangerous Gateway or Harmless Hobby?

To some, it’s a less-dangerous version of alcohol. To others, it’s a hazardous trend that provides a gateway into harder drugs. Let’s take a closer look at this debate and where it leaves the U.S. today.

There is a clear difference between both the number of people who smoke marijuana today compared to the 20th century and the number of people who are willing to admit it.

1964 - 4 in 100 people had smoked marijuana in the past year.
2013 - Gallup polls show that 1 in 4 people have smoked marijuana in the past year. What are the two sides actually saying?
Legalize it!

  • Marijuana is no more harmful to the body than alcohol or cigarettes.
  • Crime rates relating to marijuana and drug cartels would reduce.
  • The FDA could regulate the safety of marijuana.
  • Its legalization would free “criminals” who have suffered harsh mandatory minimum sentences in U.S. prisons.

Up in Smoke: A Timeline of Marijuana Use in the U.S.
Source: Up in Smoke: A Timeline of Marijuana Use in the U.S.

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  • Kenneth Arp

    Where does it say the cocaine and meth would be legalized? We are talking about Marijuana legalization! People are so stupid! Marijuana is the best stress reliever in the world. Drug makers for prescriptions shouldn’t be allowed to vote against or for Marijuana legalization, because it conflicts against their profit, selling man made drugs to the public. Now we don’t have freedom to be free because the US Government and States are trying to make it a profit margin by making it their drug to tax it and keep growers from growing it. As a Government we should make it cost 1.00 a gram and stop illegal marijuana trafficking and underground sales to gangs and such. Make it cheap and legal will kill the market to the criminals seeking profit even the Government. The Government and Perception drug makers are the ones that are doing the damage to the public. If it was legalized then it would be less prisons and less court hearings and plea bargains the states and Governments cant use more tax money to fund their pockets for their Jobs. So many people are out of Jobs and tax dollars are slim and it’s biting the system in the butt. So now they are trying to take over the marijuana market to survive. That will bite the States and Feds soon too. Because its not going to end crime, but create cheaper underground market. Nobody will buy from the States because they want to make it too expensive. It’s a trick by the Governments, who has a brain anywhere that can see this happening? End the crime, don’t make more crime for the profit. I’m ashamed of our own Country for lying and setting up the American People. Our own Country Men are taking out our own People that work hard to survive and live good lives for the benefit of Pay Offs by the very Gangs that Pay our Government. Cops don’t make enough money so they take bribes. Cops and Lawyers call it Job security. I pray for those that smoke marijuana that is being persecuted and consumed by our own Country Men to line their pockets.

  • Kenneth Arp

    Where does it say the cocaine and meth would be legalized. We are talking about Marijuana legalization. People are so stupid. Marijuana is the best stress reliever in the world. Drug makers for prescriptions shouldn’t be allowed to vote against or for Marijuana legalization, because it conflicts against their profit selling man made drugs to the public. Now we don’t have freedom to be free because the US Government and States are trying to make it a profit margin by making it their drug to tax it and keep growers from growing it. As a Government we should make it cost 1.00 a gram and stop illegal marijuana trafficking and underground sales to gangs and such. Make it cheap and legal will kill the market to the criminals seeking profit even the Government. The Government and Perception drug makers are the ones that are doing the damage to the public. If it was legalized then it would be less prisons and less court hearings plea bargains the states and Governments can use of tax money to fund their pockets for their Jobs. No so many people are out of Jobs and tax dollars are slim and it’s biting the system is the butt. So now they are trying to take over the marijuana market to survive. That will bite the States and Feds soon too. Because its not going to end crime, but create cheaper underground market. Nobody will buy from the States because they want to make it too expensive. It’s a trick by the Governments, who has a brain anywhere that can see this happening?

  • Richard Breslin

    The whole “gateway” drug thing is completely wrong. It would not be a so called gateway drug if it was legalized. Because it is illegal in most areas of the country you to buy it from a drug dealer. That dealer also sells other more addicting drugs. Usually ends up making more money on the “harder” stuff because they are physically addicting. If it was legal and only sold to adults over 21 years of age you are cutting out the so called “gateway” problem. Also with the problem with children trying marijuana. Easy for a child to approach a drug dealer. Harder to walk into a shop that is complying with government regulations and carding individuals that are buying it. The money our government wastes on prosecuting non- violent marijuana users is astonishing. It is 2013 folks wake up! Marijuana will be here whether you like it or not legal or illegal why not have the means for our country to help our economy using marijuana. Oh and for the morons saying it is wrong. It is scientifically proven to be less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes. Wake up America some of our economic troubles could be helped quickly with the legalization of marijuana.

  • painkills2

    I would just like to mention that the above list of conditions in which you can be certified as an MMJ patient is not a complete one and varies from state to state. (Although I would have thought that chronic pain was a condition that was eligible in most states, even though it didn’t make the list.)