Ganjapreneur: your source for daily cannabis news and business insights.
Welcome to Ganjapreneur, your go-to platform for the latest cannabis industry news. Our mission is to provide operators in the legal cannabis space with the information they need to succeed in this rapidly-evolving industry. Since 2014, we have been dedicated to keeping cannabis founders, activists, and investors up-to-date on the latest policy news from the US and internationally, as well as providing a wealth of resources to help them navigate the complex landscape of legal cannabis.
At Ganjapreneur, we believe that the legalization movement is about much more than just generating profits. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, and its legalization is an important step towards correcting the historical wrongs of cannabis prohibition, and could provide safe and affordable relief to people around the world suffering from a wide variety of health conditions. In addition to keeping the product accessible and affordable for those who need it, we believe that cannabis commerce should be accessible to people who have been persecuted by the War on Drugs, and that cannabis prisoners around the world should be released and have their records expunged.
Want to join the cannabis industry? First, understand its context.
The history of cannabis prohibition in the USA is a long and complex one, with roots stretching back to the early 20th century. One of the earliest attempts to criminalize cannabis in the US came in the form of the 1915 Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, which regulated opiates and cocaine but also included cannabis as a taxable drug. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that cannabis began to be widely demonized in the media, with newspapers like William Randolph Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner publishing sensationalized stories linking the drug to violent crime and insanity.
Around the same time, Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the US Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics, launched a campaign to criminalize cannabis on a federal level. Anslinger noted that cannabis use was more common among minority communities and stated that their appreciation of “Satanic music” (i.e. jazz and swing) was a direct result of marijuana use. He also believed that marijuana use could cause white women to “seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, which effectively made cannabis illegal on a federal level.
Despite these efforts, cannabis use continued to be relatively widespread throughout the 20th century, particularly among marginalized communities. In the 1960s and 70s, the counterculture movement helped to popularize cannabis use among a wider swath of the population, leading to increased pressure to decriminalize or legalize the drug. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s and early 2000s that the first states began to seriously consider legalizing cannabis for medical use.
Cannabis Legalization Timeline:
- 1996: California becomes the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use
- 2001: Canada legalizes medical cannabis for authorized patients
- 2012: Colorado and Washington become the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use
- 2013: Uruguay becomes the first country to fully legalize cannabis
- 2014: Oregon and Alaska legalize recreational cannabis; Illinois becomes the 20th state to legalize medical cannabis
- 2015: Puerto Rico legalizes medical cannabis
- 2016: California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts legalize recreational cannabis; Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida legalize medical cannabis
- 2017: West Virginia and Louisiana legalize medical cannabis
- 2018: Vermont becomes the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use through the state legislature, rather than a ballot initiative; Oklahoma legalizes medical cannabis
- 2019: Illinois becomes the first state to legalize recreational cannabis through the state legislature; New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York legalize medical cannabis; Colombia legalizes medical cannabis exports
- 2020: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota legalize recreational cannabis; Israel legalizes medical cannabis exports
- 2021: Virginia becomes the first southern state to legalize recreational cannabis; Mexico legalizes recreational cannabis, becoming the world’s largest legal cannabis market by population; Ireland legalizes medical cannabis
- 2022: France legalizes medical cannabis
Despite the growing momentum towards legalization, the US federal government has yet to fully embrace the movement. Cannabis remains illegal on a federal level, and businesses operating in the industry face significant legal and financial hurdles as a result. However, with more and more states legalizing cannabis each year, it seems only a matter of time before the federal government takes action as well.
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