Marijuana is the oldest known psychoactive drug consumed for thousands of years, well into the 19th century and now, the 21st century. The 19th century was a significant time for cannabis because more people became aware of the plant and all of its properties. During the 1960s, cannabis use increased with the rise of the counterculture, which encouraged a revolution of social norms in drugs. This marijuana use and popularity continued into the 1970s, when people smoked “hippie weed”.


Weed today is not like it used to be because during the 1970s, the “hippie weed” came from illegal imports, mainly from Colombia. This “hippie weed” is different than today’s cannabis because imports from outside of the country could take months to arrive, which affects the potency of the flower. Some of this flower was confiscated during police raids, and later used for marijuana research. During the 1970s, many individual states showed an interest in medical marijuana, so many began researching the plant. A number of marijuana agencies and organizations were created during the ‘70s, including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). NORML is an activist group that promotes and coordinates grass-roots efforts to legalize medical marijuana at the state and local levels. The group has grown into the premier decriminalization advocacy group it is today, which continues to push for marijuana reform.