Marijuana is currently sold in multiple dispensaries in the U.S. The drug has been legalized in many states. However, there’s a long history that brings us to where we are now.

Here is a brief overview of the laws that regulated the use and sales of marijuana.

17th Century

The history of marijuana in the U.S. goes back to the 17th century. The government encouraged the growth of the cannabis plant (hemp) as it was used in the manufacturing of clothes, ropes, and sails. By the 19th century, marijuana was used in many medicines and was openly sold in many pharmacies.

Mexican Revolution

The Mexican Revolution in 1910 introduced the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. The drug was considered the cause of violence exhibited by the Mexican immigrants. The prevalent use of the drug gave rise to the anti-drug campaign. Severe resentment by the public against the use of marijuana escalated the governmental concern regarding the “marijuana menace”. 29 states outlawed the use of marijuana by the end of 1931.

Tax Act by Congress

Congress passed a Tax Act in 1937 against the use of marijuana, declaring it a criminal act.

In the same year, the Academy of Medicine in New York issued a report denying all claims that declared marijuana to be a cause of insanity, violence or addiction.

Impact of the Second World War

During the Second World War, the Department of Agriculture in the U.S. allowed the cultivation of hemp to manufacture military gears and parachutes. The program registered around 375,000 acres cannabis in the U.S.

Federal Laws

The federal laws introduced in 1950 pressed mandatory charges against drug-related offenses. However, a decade later, the cultural shift developed a more lenient attitude toward the use of marijuana. The official report issued during the tenure of Presidents Johnson and Kennedy denied the association of marijuana with addiction or violence.

Decriminalization of the use of Marijuana

The United States Congress repealed many of the penalties that were charged against drug use in 1970. President Nixon appointed a commission to regulate the laws related to the use of marijuana. The commission proposed decriminalization of personal use of marijuana in 1972. President Nixon rejected the recommendation.

However, by late 1970s, the use of marijuana was decriminalized by eleven states while many states relaxed their penalties.

Legalization in California

The debate on the use of marijuana continued until 1996 when California allowed the use and sales of medical marijuana for treating patients with cancer, AIDS, and other severe diseases under Proposition 215.

Legalization in New York

The Assembly Bill 6351 passed in the New York Senate legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2014.

Currently, 32 states in the U.S. have legalized the use of medical marijuana and the numbers are growing ever since.


The legalization of medical marijuana has positively contributed to the treatment of various ailments. Many on-going research are aimed at finding more about the therapeutic effects of marijuana.

We, at Indica MD, assist New Yorkers and Californians in getting their medical marijuana card online. Our licensed practitioners can provide you with certification after examining your medical background.

Contact us today and get registered for medical marijuana program!