Marijuana And Its Road Back To Acceptance

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The use of marijuana stretches back more than 2,000 years. For most of American history, marijuana was legal under both federal and state law. The decline in the use of medical marijuana was accelerated by the development of other drugs, such as aspirin and opium-derived drugs. Thus, the advances in medicine helped to replace marijuana in the treatment of pain and other medical conditions.

In 1970, President Nixon signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which includes the Controlled Substances Act, as part of the “war against drugs.” Congress classified marijuana as Schedule I drug because of its high potential for abuse, the lack of accepted medical use and the absence of accepted safety standards in medically supervised treatment.

Therefore, the manufacture, distribution or possession of marijuana became a federal criminal offense.

But as Bob Dylan warbled some years ago “The Times They are A-Changin’.” The national movement to legalize medical marijuana began in California in 1996 with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act initiative, which amended the California Constitution. Although the substantive and regulatory detail varies among states, 23 states now allow qualified individuals to possess and use “medical marijuana” under state law. Additional states are considering doing the same.