View the latest and most current up to date regulations released by the Department of Public Health of Massachusetts here.
History of Marijuana
The first recorded use of marijuana as a drug dates to 2737 B.C., when Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor, “recommended it [for treating] female weakness, gout, rheumatism, malaria, beriberi, constipation and absent-mindedness.” As recently as 2007, an estimated 160 million people across the globe used marijuana as a drug. In that same year, an estimated 12.6 percent of Americans between the ages of 15 and 64 used marijuana, per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The first significant expansion of marijuana use in the United States took place in the early 1900s, when Mexican immigrants brought it across the border as they came to the U.S. looking for work. From there, its use spread across the southern and western U.S., then northward as cities like Chicago demanded more labor.
The first federal legislation to have a substantial impact on marijuana use was the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The law did not make marijuana illegal, but did subject its users to steep taxes. At the time, the American Medical Association opposed the new law.
Marijuana use was made illegal with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. Along with mescaline and peyote, marijuana was identified as a Schedule I Hallucinogenic Substance.
But in recent years, the citizens of many states have elected to change their laws as they pertain to marijuana users. Today, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, although the 2005 Supreme Court ruling in Gonzales v. Raich made those individuals still subject to federal prosecution. Massachusetts’ medical marijuana law was passed in 2012, when Ballot Question 3 was approved with 63 percent of the vote.
Stern, Ruth C. and DiFonzo, J. Herbie, The End of the Red Queen’s Race: Medical Marijuana in the New Century (July 13, 2008). Quinnipiac Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 4, 2009; Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-15. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1283677 Ibid.