PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF CANNABIS
wHAT IS CANNABIS?
Cannabis is a fast growing and versatile plant that has been used for thousands of years by our different ancestors all over the world for many different things. It is most commonly known as a federally illegal drug, but it is actually a very safe herb that can be consumed for medicinal and recreational purposes. Due to the nature of the herb and the way it interacts with our bodies, it is impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis. The most dangerous thing about cannabis is that you can get arrested for having it.
Cannabis can also be used in tens of thousands of commercial products, especially as fiber ranging from paper, cordage, construction material and textiles in general, to clothing. Hemp is stronger and longer-lasting than cotton. It also is a useful source of foodstuffs (hemp milk, hemp seed, hemp oil) and biofuels. Hemp has been used by many civilizations, from China to Europe (and later North America) during the last 12,000 years In modern times novel applications and improvements have been explored with modest commercial success.
The Cannabis family of plants, which also includes high growing varieties referred to as hemp, has been in use by humans for thousands of years. The attempted prohibition of this plant is actually a relatively new thing, having only been in effect since the early 20th century.
There are many theories as to why cannabis is illegal, including racism, greed from the pharmaceutical and law enforcement industry, protection of corporate profits for the cotton/paper industries, yellow journalism, and corrupt politicians.
As with most complicated things, it's probably a combination of all those things, but the war on cannabis was and continues to be a huge mistake.
If you'd like to read more about the history of how cannabis became illegal, click here.
PRESENT AND FUTURE
While Cannabis remains federally illegal, many states are taking the steps to make the plant legal for both medicinal and recreational use. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
A number of states have also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Most recently, Delaware passed legislation that decriminalizes the private use of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing penalties with a civil fine.
California currently allows cannabis for medical use with a doctor's recommendation and legal recreational use is likely to be on the ballot in 2016.