Marijuana advocates mark milestones

Last modified: Sunday, February 03, 2013

April 29, 1911: Massachusetts becomes the first state to ban marijuana.

Aug. 2, 1937: President Franklin Roosevelt bans marijuana use, production, and sales, including industrial hemp. In 1941, Roosevelt signs an executive order allowing emergency hemp production during World War II for canvas, cords, rope and oil.

1945: At the conclusion of World War II, the government re-bans industrial hemp.

1965: Poet Allen Ginsberg organizes one of the first public protests against marijuana prohibition laws. This eventually leads to the creation of the California-based reform organization Amorphia.

1968-1969: Appellate court challenged to anti-marijuana laws lead the federal government to create the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1970.

1970: Attorney R. Keith Stroup founds the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

1972: The Shafer Commission recommends that marijuana be decriminalized for personal use and that personal cultivation be allowed. President Richard Nixon and Congress reject those recommendations.

1973: Oregon becomes the first state to decriminalize marijuana.

1975: Robert Randall of Washington, D.C., becomes the first legal medical marijuana patient in America.

1988: DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young rules in favor of NORML to make marijuana a medicine. The Reagan administration appeals ruling to uphold an across-the-board ban of the drug.

1991: San Francisco becomes the first U.S. city to pass an ordinance in favor of medical patients having access to marijuana.

1998: Oregon voters defeat an effort to “re-criminalize” marijuana by 68 to 32 percent.

1999-2011: Maine, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Michigan, Arizona, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Delaware pass medical marijuana legislation.



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