Medical marijuana, also known as Cannabis, and also spelled as Marihuana in legal documentation, has had critics and supporters for thousands of years.
Medical marijuana is simply a natural option for patients who choose to use it rather than rely on prescription pills or other pharmaceutical drugs. Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for approximately 4,000 years.In the early 3rd century AD, Hua Tuo (right) was the first known person in China to use cannabis as an anesthetic. Cannabis was prescribed to treat vomiting and hemorrhaging. Since then, Cannabis has been used in Ancient Egypt, India and many Islamic countries for medicinal purposes.William Brooke O’Shaughnessy (lower right), an Irish doctor has been said to be responsible for bringing Cannabis to the Western World as a medical treatment in the 1830’s. It was used mainly as treatment for migraines, as a sleeping aid, as an analgesic and anticonvulsant. Cannabis use started to become minimized in the United States in 1937 with the Marijuana Tax Act- making cannabis unpopular and highly criticized. In 1970, congress passed the Controlled Substance Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, repealing the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. The Controlled Substance Act classified Cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug.
A Schedule 1 Drug is defined as:
(A) The drug or other substance has high potential for abuse.
(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”
“No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances, and such substances are subject to production quotas by the DEA” (Controlled Substance Act 1970.) Since 1970, the Federal Government has grouped Cannabis with other drugs such as GHB, Dimethyltryptamine, Heroin, and Mescaline.
One conspiracy behind the illegalization of marijuana has to do with the Dupont Company and many other industries in the 1930’s when the term “marijuana” was coined to blacken the name of the hemp plant. Hemp was the largest cash crop in America until the 20th Century. Until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin, 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp. In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted “by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down.” Government studies report that 1-acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. In 1937, the Dupont Company patented the processes to make many plastics from oil and coal. Synthetics such as plastics, cellophane, celluloid, methanol, nylon, rayon, and Dacron could now be made from oil. Natural hemp industrialization would have ruined over 80% of Dupont’s business.
Andrew Mellon was Dupont’s primary investor and he became President Hoover’s Secretary of Treasury. He appointed Harry J. Anslinger, his nephew-in-law, to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Soon after these appointments, hemp was declared to be a dangerous substance and began to be referred to as “marihuana”- a Mexican slang word. Marihuana was placed in the media as a substance to be blamed for loose morals, deadly accidents and crazed behavior. For the most part, the term “hemp” was not connected with “marihuana” any longer – even though they were one in the same. Some facts about hemp are: 1.Hemp has a higher quality fiber than wood fiber 2.Far fewer caustic chemicals are required to make paper from hemp than from trees 3.The plant grows quickly to maturity in a season where trees take a lifetime. 4.Hempen plastics are biodegradable (Yurchey – 2005)
After all the propaganda forcing out the truth, in September 1937, hemp became illegal. Today, the production marijuana, hemp and medical marijuana are still illegal when it comes to the Federal government. Then, in 1996 California lead the way with Proposition 215 added Section 11362.5 to the California Health and Safety Code, which:
• Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana.
• Provides physicians who recommend use of marijuana for medical treatment shall not be punished or denied any right or privilege.
• Declares that the measure is not be construed to supersede prohibitions of conduct endangering others or to condone diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes.
As of 2012, there are 16 states in the United States that have allowed medicinal marijuana to be a legitimate form of medicine. These states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. As of 2008, 25% of Americans live in a state where medicinal marijuana is legal on the state level. Each of these states has their own regulations of medical marijuana and how it is implemented into society.