When Marijuana Was Legal in the United States


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Marijuana, or cannabis, used to be legal in the United States and was “actually listed in the U.S. formulary in 1854,” according to Judith A. Paice, PhD, RN, Director, Cancer Pain Program, Division of Hematology-Oncology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.

“Many of those early formulations, the elixirs that were being marketed by ‘medicine men’ travelling the country, included cannabis, as well as cocaine, belladonna, opium, and other substances. These vials and elixirs weren’t labeled, and people were becoming dependent on some of the products. Early laws were aimed at identifying what the products were, and then in early 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act outlawed and regulated some of these products, including marijuana,” Dr. Paice said.

In 1973, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was established, and “we had the War on Drugs, which included the war on cannabinoids,” she added. ■

Disclosure: Dr. Paice reported no potential conflicts of interest.


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