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  • Olivia Castro

The History on Why Marijuana is a Schedule I Drug

Marijuana in America has had a very long and very hectic history. Many of us have seen marijuana go from a strictly illegal drug that was damned to a magic medicine for those with debilitating medical conditions and then to a recreational substance to be casually enjoyed.

This change in the way marijuana is socially viewed has been a major shift. But why was marijuana even made illegal back in the day? Why was it for so long vilified to the point that there are existing toxic stereotypes about marijuana users that exist to this day?

Today, we will be giving you all the tea on why marijuana was made illegal federally! At Ohio Marijuana Card, we believe that marijuana history is important to acknowledge. This is the only way we can move forward as a nation in support of medical marijuana legalization and shatter those nasty stereotypes.

You can stay connected to all things medical marijuana in Ohio by reading our blog and following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when you’re on the go!

How Did Prohibition of Marijuana Begin?

This is the big question! Why was marijuana made illegal to begin with?

Cannabis was fully legal in the U.S. up until 1937 when the “Marihuana Tax Act” was passed. Before this bill was passed, doctors used marijuana regularly to treat their patients! They would prescribe marijuana tinctures to treat migraines, aches, pains and many different ailments.

Everything was all good until rumors started to spread about “reefer madness.” Reefer Madness was a propaganda movie that was released in 1936 which had the original name “Tell Your Children.” This movie displayed depictions of marijuana users basically losing their minds. In the film people smoking marijuana would put themselves in risky situations, do dangerous things and attend “wild” parties.

The tall tale of “reefer madness” actually existed before the film but the film solidified it as a cautionary tale for the nation to see and believe. Before the film was released, the media had been claiming that Americans of Mexican and Asian descent had reefer madness since their heritage was from a country that traditionally used marijuana. This racist propaganda embedded deep stereotypes into American culture and gave politicians at the time a “reason” to push for marijuana to be made illegal.

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937:

This leads us to a discussion about the “Marihuana Tax Act” that was passed in 1937. This bill criminalized marijuana. In order to deter people from using marijuana products, this bill placed a $1.00 tax on anyone who sold or cultivated cannabis. Although a single dollar may not sound like much today, remember this is very soon after the stock market crashed and the country was still recovering during this time. A single dollar went a long way in 1937 considering a carton of eggs went for less than 30 cents.

There were also additional provisions on top of the tax that citizens all over the country had to comply with. If they didn’t comply, a violation of these provisions could carry a fine up to $2,000 and even imprisonment!

From 1937 to 1970, marijuana was more and more criminalized as related arrests increased. But surprisingly this was followed by an increase in marijuana use as well. Instead of the tax act deterring people from using marijuana, it actually just created a “risk premium” on it which increased profits for those supplying marijuana at the time making marijuana more valuable.

As the country entered the 1960’s, America was moving into the civil rights, free love and anti-war era. The use of cannabis became one of the identities of this counter-culture that was building.

Of course, those that were right-winged weren’t happy about this. This gave lawmakers even more of an excuse to prohibit marijuana use in the country.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970:

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed which updated all federal drug laws across the country. This act scheduled marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

What does this mean? A Schedule I drug is a substance that has no medicinal value and has a high potential for abuse and addiction. We know that this scheduling is not based on facts as people, in this country and the next, have been using marijuana medically for centuries and it is non-addictive.

At the time medical experts advocated for marijuana’s medicinal properties but they were overlooked and marijuana was still labeled a Schedule I drug. It has been in that scheduling ever since.

Scheduling marijuana in Schedule I was a political move for the administration at the time. It puts marijuana in a catch-22. Policymakers claim there is a lack of research on marijuana being medicinal but there is a lack of research because research is restricted for Schedule I drugs. Under this scheduling, marijuana can just not win.

Entering The Medical Marijuana Legalization Era

There is no denying that marijuana has medicinal properties. This has led individual states to legalize medical marijuana programs on their own terms one by one!

Ohio created a medical marijuana program with the passage of House Bill 523 in the summer of 2016. Louisiana started the trend back in the 80s and was followed by California, Alaska, Oregon and Washington. Today, there are a lot of states that have medical marijuana programs!

If you are looking for a way to use marijuana for medicinal purposes legally, you have come to the right place my friend!

Here at Ohio Marijuana Card, being diagnosed with a medical condition can qualify you for a medical marijuana card. Make an appointment with us today and start your journey towards healing!


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

Here at Ohio Marijuana Card, our goal is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

If you have any questions, call us at (866) 457-5559, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Ohio Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Ohio.


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