The use of marijuana, for both medical and recreational purposes, has long been a topic of much controversy. Using marijuana is seen as morally wrong by many, however to others it is seen as a plant with major health benefits. Upon first introduction to the subject it seems unclear as to why so much controversy is caused by this plant. The answer is rooted deep in America's history and to this day effects several parts of everyday American life. Marijuana policy affects Americans economically and health-wise. However the American government must also deal with other areas influenced by marijuana such as legislation and regulation costs. Marijuana legislation is a topic the pro-marijuana side and the anti-marijuana side are constantly debating. Throughout the years thanks to propaganda and yellow journalism this debate has been further complicated by false facts and accusations. To truly understand the marijuana debate one must understand each side's reasoning as well as take a look back into history to understand how the country got to this point in the marijuana feud.
Finding exactly where marijuana became the controversial issue that it is today is not an easy task. The reason for this is that marijuana has been there since the very beginning. Marijuana plants were being cultivated in America before the Mayflower arrived. Marijuana was brought to the “New World” by settlers of one of America's first permanent settlements, Jamestown. “The Jamestown settlers brought the marijuana plant, commonly known as hemp, to North America in 1611, and throughout the colonial period, hemp fiber was an important export. Indeed, in 1762, 'Virginia awarded bounties for hemp culture and manufacture, and imposed penalties on those who did not produce it.” The history of American marijuana started during the same time that American history started. The quote also discusses the first American policy for marijuana which was extremely lenient and actually encouraged the production and distribution of marijuana. This is quite different to today's policies, almost the exact opposite. During colonial times penalties for those who did not produce marijuana could be enforced. Today, in most states, those who would like to cultivate marijuana are often the ones facing fines and heavy government regulation. One is left wondering how the policy for medical marijuana could switch so dramatically that it goes from being a vital part of American agriculture to the cultivation of it being for the most part outlawed throughout the country.
Marijuana an important part of the American economy and an established medicine quickly became America's most wanted illicit drug and banning it became popular among states. Massachusetts became the first of these states to place a ban on marijuana, “Bolstered by Progressive Era faith in big government, the 1910s marked a high tide of prohibitionist sentiment in America. In 1914 and 1916,...