The Story of How a Once Beneficial Plant Became Bad
The history of cannabis is a great example of what can happen to a quality product once it becomes a thorn in the eye of the rich and the powerful. Most people today don’t know much about the cannabis plant, except that it can get you high and potentially heal you. However, this plant was one of the first crops planted by humans once they started “domesticating” the earth some 12.000 BC in Asia. It was used for food, textile, as well as for medical purposes. Thousands of years ago people knew that it could cure rheumatism, gout, malaria, inflammation, earaches, and many other conditions.
Apart from its medical attributes, cannabis is incredibly fruitful in other respects. According to Counterpunch, an acre of this plant can yield 300 gallons of seed oil for fuel, 35 tons of fiber for canvas, linen, paper and building materials, and ethanol for fuel as well. There’s rarely a plant that can provide so much for human use. And the best part is, it’s a completely natural product and anyone can grow it. Even Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had marijuana farms, and the Declaration of Independence was written on a piece of paper made from marijuana.
So, it’s no surprise that it became an obstacle to powerful fuel and pharmaceutical companies. There are many sources that claim that cannabis became demonized at the beginning of the 20th century by being associated with “weed-smoking” Mexicans, jazz musicians and other people of color. They mostly used cannabis for recreational purposes, which felt threatening to the general population. The friction was well used by those who wanted to put away cannabis for good.
The Importance of Proper Labeling
It’s true that at the time there were global initiatives to restrict non-medical use of opiates and other dangerous drugs. Cannabis was well known for its intoxicating effects, so it fell into this group of substances that were facing restriction. Though medical marijuana was widely sold in the US in mid-19th century, somewhere around that time the first steps were made for its prohibition.
Starting from the early efforts to properly label drugs with narcotics, to the decision that every drug not issued by a pharmacy needed to include the word “poison” on the label, the path to marijuana prohibition was paved. In the early 20th century many US states banned the plant for medical and recreational purposes. In 1937 The Marijuana Tax Act was passed, which allowed industrial and medical use of marijuana only to those who paid a very high tax. Several years later the medical circles started discrediting any medical attributes of cannabis.
Several factors contributed to the demonization of marijuana. The fact that it has a substance called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that can intoxicate its user certainly did not help save its reputation. However, it is definitely true that many powerful organizations benefited from the removal of this high performing plant from the market.
Fortunately, it seems that the anti-cannabis trend is losing popularity. Today we are witnessing many states and countries restoring this plant’s reputation and turning to its amazing medical attributes for help in curing diseases.
But if we learned one thing from the past, it is that labels are not to be messed around with. More than ever before we need products to be properly labeled, so that we can better take care of our physical and mental health. The following medical marijuana infographic will help you discover which US states have legalized cannabis so far, and which information needs to be disclosed on marijuana labels in each state.
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