10 Vintage Photos Celebrating Marijuana's Place In History

Cannabis is so on-trend in 2016 that we sometimes forget the plant's rich history - from hemp farmers to old newspaper ads proclaiming marijuana's medicinal properties to anti-drug propaganda. Here are 10 ways in which cannabis has held a rich and beautiful place in our culture.

1. Getting back to the land

Richard's Hemp farm in Seney, Michigan, circa 1920s.

2. Shifting cultural expectations

Reefer Madness was just the tip of the iceberg. In the 1950s, Robert Campbell Bragg penned "Marijuana Girl", the tale of fictional high-schooler Joyce Taylor's descent into the marijuana underworld after she's kicked out of school. She moves to the big city; pulpy loss of innocence ensues. Marijuana Girl is still available on Amazon.

3. Igniting revolutionary sentiments

Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa (1878 - 1923), left, sits against a tree with a fellow soldier following the Mexican Revolution of 1911. Many of Pancho Villa's soldiers were indigenous Yaqui Indians and they were very fond of smoking 'motas' – marijuana cigarettes. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

4. Empowering badass babes

Commercial artist Christine Vasey rolls a joint: circa 1950.

5. Healing the sick

It's easy to forget that cannabis has only not been used as a medicine in America since the 1930s.

6. Promoting free love

Hippie girl smoking in a Polaroid taken at Woodstock. 1969.

7. Embracing DIY culture

In 1974, Dr. Alexander Sumach penned Grow Your Own Stone, a book advocating home cultivation as an alternative to the black market. Also by Dr. Sumach: another, equally-lavishly-illustrated book called A Treasury of Hashish.

8. Encouraging the exercise of freedom of speech

Pro-cannabis protestors in the 1960s.

9. Inspiring unintentionally amazing art

The Marihuana Story, 1950 (Spain / Argentina)

10. Making the familiar strange

In 1976, student Danny Finegood temporarily modified the Hollywood sign to celebrate marijuana decriminalization.


If passed, a new bipartisan bill filed in the House of Representative this week would automatically seal some federal marijuana convictions. On Tuesday, Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced a new piece of legislation titled the Clean Slate Act. Under the new bill, individuals with federal cannabis convictions will automatically have their records sealed one year after they have completed their sentence.

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