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  • Olivia Castro

Why is Marijuana a Schedule I Drug?

Marijuana in America has a long and tumultuous history. Many of us have seen marijuana go from a strictly prohibited drug that was vilified to a medicine for those with debilitating conditions then on to a recreational substance to be enjoyed.

This change in the way marijuana is viewed in our society has been a big shift. But why was marijuana made illegal in the first place? Why was it for so long demonized to the point where even today there are existing stereotypes about marijuana users and just marijuana use in general?

In today’s article, we will be getting into all of that! At Louisiana Marijuana Card, we believe that marijuana history is important to acknowledge. This will help us move forward as a country in support of medical marijuana legalization and have those nasty stereotypes float away.

You can stay connected to all things medical marijuana in Louisiana by reading our blog and following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when you’re on the go!

Why was Marijuana Made Illegal?

This is the big question! Why was marijuana ever made illegal in the first place?

Marijuana was fully legal in the United State up until 1937 when the “Marihuana Tax Act” was passed. Previously, doctors used marijuana regularly! They would prescribe marijuana tinctures to treat migraines, aches, pains and many different ailments.

Everything was all fine and dandy until word started to spread about “reefer madness.” Reefer Madness was a propaganda film that was released in 1936 and was originally named “Tell Your Children.” This film showed depictions of marijuana basically making people lose their minds. In the film people smoking marijuana would put themselves in risky situations, do dangerous things and attend “wild” parties.

The stereotype of “reefer madness” actually was around before the film but the film made it a cautionary tale for the nation to see. Before the film, the media had been claiming that Americans of Mexican and Asian descent had reefer madness since their heritage was from a country that used marijuana. This racist propaganda was embedded deep into the culture and gave politicians a “reason” to push for marijuana prohibition.

1937 Marijuana Tax Act:

So let’s talk about the “Marihuana Tax Act” of 1937. This bill made the marijuana plant federally criminal. In order to deter people from using marijuana products at all, there was a $1.00 tax that was placed on anyone who sold or cultivated the plant. A single dollar may not sound like much today but remember the stock market crashed in 1929 and the country was still recovering in the 30’s. A single dollar went a long way in 1937.

There also were provisions on top of the tax that citizens all over the country had to comply with. If they did not, a violation could carry a fine up to $2,000 and even imprisonment!

From 1937 to 1970, marijuana related arrests increased and was followed by an increase in marijuana use as well. Instead of the tax act deterring people from using marijuana, it actually just created a “risk premium” on it which increased profits for those supplying marijuana at the time.

As the country entered the 60’s, America was moving into the civil rights, free love and anti-war era. Marijuana use became one of the identities of this counter-culture that was forming.

Of course, those that were more right-winged weren’t happy about this. This gave policy makers even more of an excuse to lay down the law on marijuana use in the country.

1970 Controlled Substances Act:

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed which updated the federal drug laws across the country. This made marijuana a Schedule I drug.

A Schedule I drug means that a substance has no medicinal value and also has high potential for abuse and addiction. We know that this is flat out not true for marijuana as people, including those in this country, have been using marijuana medically for centuries and it is non-addictive.

Although at the time medical experts advocated for marijuana’s medicinal properties, marijuana was still labeled a Schedule I drug and has been there ever since.

Scheduling marijuana as a Schedule I drug was a political move for the administration at the time and it put marijuana in a catch-22. Lawmakers claim marijuana is not medicinal or fully legal because there is a lack of research but there is a lack of research because research is restricted for Schedule I drugs. Under this scheduling, marijuana can simply not win.

The Beginning of Medical Marijuana Legalization

As time goes by there is no denying that marijuana has medicinal properties which has led individual states to legalize medical marijuana programs one by one.

Louisiana was actually the first state to pass a medical marijuana bill in 1978 which was the first in the United States to legalize medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma and side-effects related to chemotherapy!

The trend that Louisiana set was followed by individual states slowly. California made medical marijuana legal in 1996 followed by Alaska, Oregon and Washington. Today, there are a lot of states that have medical marijuana programs!

If you are looking for a way to use marijuana for medicinal purposes legally, you have come to the right place my friend! Here at Louisiana Marijuana Card, any medical condition can qualify you for a medical marijuana card. Make an appointment with us today and start your journey towards healing.


Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


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