The History of Marijuana in New York

Marijuana has been around for a while. The plant was first discovered in Asia and eventually made its way to America. In the United States, marijuana has been used for all its purposes, including its hemp fibers, until legalization banned the plant completely. This occurred at both a state and federal level, but states also began enacting their own marijuana laws and opinions. New York has a history with the drug that can be dated back to 1857 when the New York Daily News published a letter it received, “Cannabis Indica, the East Indian hemp, known most widely as Hesheesh… a sure counteractive to the poison of rabies.”

The New York Times first mentioned marijuana in 1901 when it describes it as, “a harmless-looking drug” that “sends its victims running amuck.” Marijuana was still legal at that time though, because in 1906 Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, allowing New York City residents to have a prescription for cannabis. This quickly changed in 1927 when the whole state of New York banned marijuana when “Mexican Family Go Insane” after eating some of the plant. Now, the possession of marijuana is illegal in New York depending on the amount possessed, and medical marijuana is legal since the passing of the “Compassionate Care Act” in 2014.


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