Cannabis has only been available from your local Denver weed shop since the 2012 passage of Colorado Amendment 64, but marijuana has been used around the world for many ages. Its use originated thousands of years ago in Asia before finding its way across the globe and eventually to the Americas, including the United States. It was primarily used for medicinal and spiritual reasons, with there being records of the Vikings using it for pain relief. The idea that marijuana is a dangerous drug is fairly recent, and cannabis has been legal across the world in many locations.
Where Pot First Came From
Cannabis sativa, known as marijuana, has psychoactive properties, and Cannabis sativa L is the subspecies known as hemp and which does not have psychoactive properties. Cannabis plants are believed to have first been grown on the steppes of Central Asia in Mongolia and southern Siberia, going back some 12,000 years. Archeologists have unearthed burned cannabis seeds in Siberia dating back to 3,000 B.C. They also discovered large quantities of mummified psychoactive marijuana in China and Siberia.
Historians talk of both hemp and psychoactive marijuana being used in China medicinally, going back to 4000 B.C. Coastal Chinese farmers brought pot to Korea around 2000 B.C. Around the same time, marijuana also become widely used in India.Â
Experts believe cannabis came to the Middle East between 2000 B.C. and 1400 B.C. Germanic tribes are credited with bringing the plant into Germany, and marijuana went from there to Britain during the 5th century, around the same time as the Anglo-Saxon invasions. Later, cannabis moved to other parts of the world, including Africa and South America during the 19th century. (To find out more about how marijuana spread across the world, take a look at the map in this article: Trail Blazingâ€”Cannabis Footprints Around the World
Cannabis in the United States
At the beginning of the 20th century, marijuana finally reached the United States by way of Mexico. Many of the negative opinions of pot at the time were thinly veiled racists fears of those who smoked it. Marijuana become connected to crimes, further promulgating the negativity surrounding this plant. American laws never differentiated between Cannabis sativa L. and Cannabis sativa. Utah was the first state to outlaw the plant in 1915, and by 1931 it was illegal in 29 more states.
It wasnâ€™t until 1973 that cannabis laws became more liberal, with Oregon being the first state to decriminalize the plant. California was the first state to make legal the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which created a trend that was soon adopted by the majority of states. Both Washington and Colorado were the first states to make legal the recreational use of cannabis.
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