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These 5 States Had the First Marijuana Laws on the Books

A number of individual states are moving forward with marijuana legalization because they are still under marijuana law from the early prohibition days. Some prohibition laws came as part of the nationwide trend to restrict cannabis, but now there’s a nationwide trend to legalize cannabis. Some states are now pioneers in marijuana legalization, but they also have a history of restricting the drug. Even though the federal government banned cannabis later, individual states began restricting the sale, consumption, and cultivation of cannabis as early as 1911 by introducing some of the first marijuana laws on the books.

Massachusetts was the first to outlaw marijuana in 1911, though some argue the state banned the drug in 1914. The state restricted the sale of “Indian hemp” except by licensed pharmacists from a doctor’s prescription. A number of other states followed in 1913, including California, a state that is now known as a pioneer in marijuana legalization. California banned the sale of marijuana in 1913 by adding marijuana to the list of banned substances under the Poison Act. Maine also restricted all forms of marijuana in 1913, so even states prohibiting marijuana have long legal histories with the drug.


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