Marijuana Timeline - Important Dates in history of marijuana

1600's - First sign of marijuana in North America
Hemp (Cannabis sativa) was first brought to North America by the Puritans.

1750-1799 - George Washington and Marijuana

The first president of the United States, cultivated Indian Hemp (Cannabis sativa indica, i.e. medical cannabis, which could also be used for fiber, although not as well as regular hemp) on his farm.

1800s - Early uses of marijuana

Cannabis (also referred to as marijuana) is legal in most states, as hemp to make items such as rope, sails, and clothes. Cannabis also became a common ingredient in medicine and was openly sold at pharmacies

1910 - Introduction to recreational use

After the Mexican Revolution of 1910, a wave of Mexicans immigrated to the United States and introduced the American public to recreational cannabis use.

1906 - First Regulation of Marijuana in United States

The first significant instance of cannabis regulation appeared in Washington D.C. in 1906

December 19, 1914 - The Harrison Narcotic Act

The Harrison Narcotics Act prohibited possession of narcotics unless properly prescribed by a physician, in the US

February 25, 1925 - International Opium Convention

Banned the use of Indian hemp (hashish) except for authorized medical and scientific purposes
June 14, 1930 - Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN)
The FBN was established with a main focus of fighting opium and heroin smuggling. It is credited for criminalizing drugs such as cannabis with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, as well as strengthening the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914.

Mid 1930's - Marijuana use regulated in every state

The Uniform State Narcotic Act - cannabis was regulated in every state by laws instituted through The Uniform State Narcotic Act.

August 2, 1937 - Marihuana Tax Act of 1937

This act made possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the United States under federal law, excluding medical and industrial uses, in which an expensive excise tax was required.
July 18, 1956 - Narcotics Control Act of 1956
The acts made a first time cannabis possession offense a minimum of two to ten years with a fine up to $20,000; however, in 1970, the United States Congress repealed mandatory penalties for cannabis offenses.

1961 - Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

The principal objectives of the Convention are to limit the possession, use, trade in, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes and to address drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers.

1968 - Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs formed (BNDD)

The BNDD was a predecessor agency of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It was formed as a subsidiary of the United States Department of Justice, combining the Bureau of Narcotics (from the United States Department of the Treasury) and Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (from the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's Food and Drug Administration) into one agency. By 1971 the BNDD was composed of 1,500 agents and had a budget of some $43 million (which was more than fourteen times the size of the budget of the former Bureau of Narcotics).

1970 - Controlled Substances Act
Law enacted that regulates the prescribing and dispensing of psychoactive drugs, including stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens. The act lists five categories of restricted drugs, organized by their medical acceptance, abuse potential, and ability to produce dependence. The law classified cannabis as having high potential for abuse, no medical use, and not safe to use under medical supervision.

1973 - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is formed

The DEA is tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the U.S. Not only is the DEA the lead agency for domestic enforcement of the drug policy of the United States (sharing concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation), it also has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations abroad.

November 5, 1996 - California Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was passed

Act in california legalized the medicinal use of marijuana.

May 14, 2001 - United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Coop

United States Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-drug laws do not permit an exception for medical cannabis and rejected the common-law medical necessity defense to crimes enacted under the Controlled Substances Act because Congress concluded cannabis has "no currently accepted medical use" when the act was passed in 1970.

2005 - Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1

United States Supreme Court ruled that the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution allowed the federal government to ban the use of cannabis, including medical use. The court found the federal law valid, although the cannabis in question had been grown and consumed within a single state, and had never entered interstate commerce. Congress may ban the use of cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes.