You Should be Aware of the Complicated History of Cannabis

March 3, 2024
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Cannabis has a complicated history, particularly in the United States. We at Sprout Processing are enthusiastic about our sector and eager to see it develop in the future. That is why we believe it is critical to look back. Let's take a look at the history of cannabis and how we got to where we are now.

Cannabis's beginnings

Cannabis is a plant that has been grown all over the world. It most likely originated in northern Asia and prospered there. It was even utilized as early as 3000 BC, according to research. Upon the arrival of cannabis in China, Emperor Shen Nung greatly praised its remarkable medical properties. Chinese traders then transported the plant to Korea and South Asia. After meeting with the Arians, the plant spread to India and portions of the Middle East.

The plant was eagerly embraced by the Indian kings. They quickly recognized it as one of the most significant events in their civilization. It was thought to be a plant capable of curing anything from anxiety to malaria. Military victories by nomadic tribes brought the plant to Europe. It was once popular in Germany, and it even made its way to the United Kingdom. There is evidence that cannabis was a favorite plant among Viking warriors, who most likely contributed to its global expansion.

Cannabis became more popular throughout the world, from Africa to South America. Although it was primarily employed for therapeutic purposes, it was also taken by some civilizations for its hallucinogenic qualities. It was most commonly used during religious rites to produce a trance-like state or commune with holy figures.

Cannabis was brought to North America by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. The Spanish first used the plant for making rope, but later the Indians used it for medicine and recreation. The herb was widely used in Mexico and the southern United States by the mid-to late-nineteenth century. The term "marijuana" entered the vernacular at that time.

Marijuana's Background

Until the Mexican Revolution, "marijuana" was rarely used to refer to cannabis. Thousands of Mexican refugees fled to the United States due to the war's bloodshed. Racist sentiments quickly spread, and Mexican immigrants faced discrimination. One of these methods was the usage of cannabis. Marijuana has become associated with Hispanics as a euphemism for "another" plant.

Marijuana was once linked to criminal activity and bloodshed. It was said that it harmed and corrupted America's youth. Other minority groups, such as blacks and Hindus, were also tied to the plant, associated with negative connotations. Prohibition of cannabis became a hot topic soon after. The famed U.S. Narcotics Commissioner Henry Anslinger was the catalyst for this. He ran on a racist platform and advocated for strict drug regulation. He testified before Congress in 1937, advocating for cannabis prohibition.

The Prohibition of Cannabis' History

The Marihuana Tax Act was the first type in the United States to make cannabis illegal. Cannabis possession became a federal crime in 1937, with the Drug Enforcement Agency enforcing it (DEA). This was the start of a lengthy history of cannabis prohibitions and laws. It also marked the beginning of the cannabis stigma that has since taken hold in the U.S. court system.

Marijuana and the Drug War

In the 1970s, the United States intensified its crackdown on marijuana users. The government's role in pursuing and prosecuting cannabis users grew drastically under President Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs. Billions of funds were diverted to conduct law enforcement and anti-drug activities in the United States and abroad.

The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act drastically enhanced drug-related penalties and imposed harsh mandatory minimum terms. Cannabis users are now prosecuted based on the amount of the substance they have, not their involvement in the drug trade. Worse, judges could no longer reduce punishments in good faith or compassion. As a result, millions of Americans have received Draconian prison sentences, sometimes even life sentences, over the years. More people are now imprisoned for drug-related offenses than for violent crimes in the United States. Worse, cannabis-related violations continue to attract harsher penalties than murder or kidnapping.

Taking the appropriate steps

California approved the Compassionate Use Act in 1996. This law allows people with severe or chronic conditions to use cannabis for medical reasons. Hundreds of other states have now approved cannabis for medical purposes. This has sparked interest in the health advantages of cannabis and its potential to cure conditions like epilepsy.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational cannabis use. In 2014, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. were added to the list. There are now fifteen states where cannabis is permitted for recreational use and twice as many legals for medical use. Many more states have introduced ballot initiatives and taken efforts to legalize cannabis.

Cannabis legalization on a federal level
Currently, cannabis is illegal in the United States. It is classed as a Schedule 1 substance by the U.S. government. Cannabis legalization at the federal level, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly popular. Some Republican and Democratic officials have made similar demands. Furthermore, President Biden has hinted that federal cannabis legalization could be on the horizon.

Cannabis technology's advancement

As recreational and medical marijuana became more widely available across the country, technology had to keep up with demand. Modern technology brings immediate benefits compared to old growing methods, which were affected by weather and other variables. Cannabis growing has improved with innovations such as LED lamps, better cultivation methods, and data digitization. To stay competitive in the modern world, cannabis enterprises needed business management, point-of-sale, and seed-to-sale systems.

Our founder's desire to handle a cannabis delivery service with multiple platforms led to the creation of Sprout Processing. We created our solution for cannabis professionals to help them run their businesses more efficiently. Sprout Processing allows for compliant credit and debit card payments for retail cannabis dispensaries, as well as cannabis delivery services.


Cannabis has a complicated and long history. It's transformed from a beloved healer to a racially motivated "bogeyman." Finally, cannabis appears to be on the verge of being recognized for what it is: a medicinal plant.

Sprout Processing is committed to helping cannabis businesses succeed on their journey to legalization.If you need software to improve and expand your cannabis business, choose Sprout Processing. Please contact us to schedule a demo with our team and learn about our compliant payment solution for the cannabis industry.

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