Marijuana’s journey in America started when it gained infamy from the Marijuana Stamp Act in 1937 which made weed illegal.
No scientific evidence was used to back up and defend the justification of making marijuana illegal. Stereotypes were put in place in order to have Marijuana looked down upon.
A movie titled, "Reefer Madness" made for an even greater negative influence on the way society viewed marijuana. In the 50’s marijuana laws were increased to 2-10 years for a minimum sentence and a fine of around $20,000. This created a greater risk of choosing to smoke weed at the time due to the harsh consequences.
Luckily, when the 1960’s rolled around the knowledge behind marijuana was starting to grow gradually and it was ruled out that the substance does not induce violence. Counter culture in the hippie era is when marijuana started to truly make its first run in the United States. Many of the youth in the ‘60’s became more accustomed to Mary Jane due to heavy shifts in cultural and political views. Hippy weed, as it’s known today, is the marijuana that was smoked throughout the 1960’s and even 70’s. This weed was often imported from Central American countries and is known to have a very minimal potency to it. A single joint from the modern day era has the same potency of about 20 joints from the hippy era. This dramatic increase in marijuana strength has changed the entire landscape and basis of ingesting marijuana.
In 1970 weed was set apart from other drugs which made it possible to lose its minimal sentencing laws for small possessions. Smoking weed in the 70’s was seen and regarded as a far different experience as it is today. Although it was heavily ridiculed by those who were not in the marijuana movement, those involved in the movement treated it as a spiritual experience with those around them and with nothing to hide. Nowadays, it is more often than not that marijuana smoking is kept secret or on the down low. This judgement on weed in the modern day is slowly but surely beginning to change with state and local laws evolving in order to make marijuana legal not only medically, but recreationally as well.
Weed’s main image stayed the same for a long time: bud, papers for joints, and pipes/ bongs to smoke out of. Unlike today’s plethora of ways to smoke and substances to inhale, the hippy days of weed were much more simplistic. Not only has the THC content (potency) in marijuana risen dramatically over the past 50 years, the types of marijuana now stretch much further than just flower buds. Wax, edibles, vaporizers, and blunts are just a few of the most relevant apparatuses that have recently brought around to the weed industry. These items not only expand the culture of marijuana but also bring more extensive knowledge and prominence to the industry. Being able to extract chemicals from marijuana makes it a more effective medicine and helps researchers understand its full potential.
The leniency of marijuana in the U.S. has and will continue to grow until it is legal on the federal level recreationally. Marijuana's frowned upon status has been turned around to a much more acceptable factor in society that can leave more of a positive impact than most would expect.