The Historic Timeline of Marijuana
While nobody can be exactly sure of the details surrounding the discovery and first uses of the cannabis, or marijuana, plant, there is notable documentation of the uses for the plant dating back thousands and thousands of years. From ancient Chinese emperors to modern day marijuana doctors in Las Vegas – the history of marijuana is quite intriguing.
Courtesy of erowid.org, here is a timeline highlighting the uses of cannabis throughout the ages:
6000 B.C. Cannabis seeds are used for food in China.
4000 B.C. Textiles made from hemp are used in China and Turkestan.
2727 B.C. First recorded use of cannabis as medicine in Chinese pharmacology by Emperor Shen-Nung.
1500 B.C. Cannabis continues to be cultivated in China for both food and fiber (from hemp).
1500 B.C. Scythians cultivate cannabis and use it to weave fine hemp cloth.
1200-1800 B.C. Bhang, a mixture of dried cannabis leaves, seeds and stems, is referred to in the Hindu sacred text Atharva veda (Science of charms) as “sacred grass,” and is considered one of the five sacred platns of India. It is used both for medicinal and religious purposes.
700-600 B.C. The Zoroastrian Zend-Avesta, an ancient Persian religious text of several hundred volumes refers to bhang as a “good narcotic.”
700-300 B.C. Scythian tribes leave cannabis seeds as sacred offerings in royal tombs.
500-100 B.C. Scythian tribes introduce hemp to Northern Europe, and it spreads throughout.
100-0 B.C. Cannabis’ psychotropic properties are mentioned in the herbal Pen Ts’ao Ching manual.
0-100 A.D. Construction of Samartian gold and glass paste stash box is completed for storing hashish, coriander or salt, and buried in Siberian tomb.
70 Dioscorides mentions the use of cannabis as a Roman medicament. (Get a marijuana medical card in Nevada)
170 Romans acknowledge the psychoactivity of cannabis seed confections.
500-600 Jewish Talmud mentions the euphoria-like properties of cannabis
900-1000 Scholars debate the pros and cons of eating hashish. Cannabis uses spreads throughout Arabia.
1200s – Hashish smoking is widespread throughout the Middle East. Cannabis is introduced to Egypt. First time reports of cannabis brought to attention in Europe.
1155-1221 Cannabis use spreads to Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt and Syria. Early writings display the uses of cannabis as an inebriant.
1300s – Iby al-Baytar of Spain provides a description of psychoactive cannabis. Arab leaders bring cannabis to the Mozambique coast of Africa.
1500s – Emperor and founder of Mughal Empire learns of hashish in Afghanistan. Angolan slaves brought cannabis with them to the sugar plantations of northeastern Brazil, and are permitted to plant cannabis between cane rows and smoke it between harvests.
1600s – The use of hashish, alcohol and opium spreads among the Constantinople population. French and British cultivate cannabis for hemp at their colonies, Port Royal, Virginia and Plymouth. Hashish becomes a major trade item between Central Asia and South Asia.
1700s – Napoleon discovers that much of the Egyptian lower class regularly uses hashish and declares a total prohibition. Soldiers returning to France bring the product back with them.
1800s – Hashish production expands from Russia Turkestan into Yarkand in Chinese Turkestan. Hashish Eater’s Club is established in France (Paris) and Greece. British tax cannabis trade in India (‘ganga’ and ‘charas’). In the Americas, medicinal preparations with a Cannabis base are available. The Greek Department of Interior prohibits the cultivation and use of hashish. Turkey bans it as well. By the end of the 1800s, 70,000 to 80,000 kilograms of hashish is legally imported into India from Central Asia annually.
1900s – In the United States, the Pure Food and Drug Act is passed, regulating the labeling of products that contain alcohol, opiates, cocaine, and cannabis in 1907. Hashish smoking is very popular throughout the Middle East. The prohibition of cannabis in the United States for non-medical use begins (California, 1915; Texas 1919; Louisiana 1924; and New York 1927.) Other parts of the world begin to “crack down” as well, including Greece, Lebanon and Britain. Hashish continues to be smuggled into Egypt from Greece, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Central Asia. It is still legal into India from Central Asia. In 1934, the Chinese government looks to end all cannabis cultivation, and hashish production becomes illegal in Chinese Turkestan. The popular propaganda film “Reefer Madness” is made to scare American youth away from using cannabis in 1936, followed by the federal government officially making the plant illegal with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. In 1072, the Nixon-appointed Shafer Commission urges that cannabis usage be re-legalized, but request goes ignored. Medical research does continue. In 1975, the Food and Drug Administration establishes “Compassionate Use” program for medical marijuana. Afghanistan makes the cultivation of hashish illegal, but the production does not stop, with several cannabis varies from the country imported into Kashmire for sieved hashish production.
By the 1980s, Morocco becomes one of the largest hashish producing and exporting nations. Efforts to stop the production pursue on. In 1988 in the U.S., Judge Francis Young finds through several hearings that cannabis is clearly established for medical use and should be reclassified as a prescriptive drug, but his recommendation is ignored. During the 1990s, there is fighting between rival Muslim clans, affecting the hashish trade in Afghanistan.
In the mid-nineties in Amsterdam, thus begins the introduction of hashish-making equipment and appearance of locally produced hashish throughout the city coffee shops.
2000's- Britan goes back and forth with switching cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug offense. In 2010, they are considering not penalizing those with only minor amounts of cannabis. In 2003, Canada is deemed the first country in the world to offer medical marijuana to its patients. In 2009, the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Barney Frank and co-sponsored by Ron Paul and three other congressman, which, if enacted, will eliminate federal penalties for the personal possesion of up to 100 grams, and will effectively leave the legality of cannabis possession for each state to decide. As of 2010, medical marijuana is legal in 14 states including Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine Michigan, Montana, Nevada (with several up and coming Las Vegas Medical Marijuana clinics), New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Accordig to the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama's office will no longer subject individuals complying with state medical marijuana laws to federal drug raids and prosecutions. For the election year 2010 in California, if Propostion 19 titled "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010" passes, it will allow local governments to regulate and tax cannabis for multi- purposes.