Cannabis originated about 36,000,000 years ago in central Asia.

From there it went where all good things go.

Pretty much everywhere.

10,000-year-old flowers have been found in Japan, Greeks and Romans chilled out in cannabis steam baths, Vikings made sails from it, India was all over it, Queen Victoria’s personal doctor prescribed it, George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson all grew it, the American Declaration of Independence is written on it and Betsy Ross made the first American flag on cannabis cloth.

People have found lots of safe, productive uses for cannabis for as long as there have been people. For the majority of that time it’s enjoyed a respectable reputation as an important plant with significant medicinal qualities. But not everyone likes a good thing when they’ve got one.

Definitely not the US federal government.

Cannabis was freely prescribed and enjoyed in the US and pretty much everywhere by all humans since the dawn of time but about 100 years ago, a mere four generations, things went to shit.

Before 1914, narcotics were legal, widely available and frequently used to relieve pain. The Harrison Act of 1914 gave the federal goverment control over opiates and cocaine, criminalizing not just the recreational use of narcotics for the first time but the doctors that prescribed it.

It continued in 1932 and picked up steam 1937. Then in 1952, 1956, 1970, 1987 and 1994 things really went to shit.

I won’t burden you with the details but trust me, during this time anyone who grew, sold, transported or used cannabis faced and in many places continue to face incredibly harsh criminal penalties that are disproportionately directed at America’s black and brown communities.

So they basically picked up right where slavery left off, annhililating generations of African Americans in what is essentially a modern-day lynching of literally hundreds of thousands of black and brown people. And they’ve yet to right the wrong on this one. Not by a long shot.

What can you do? You can donate your time or money to help fix it.

Or learn more about the men stuck in American prisons like Anthony Gay who ended up in solitary confinement for 22 years for allegedly stealing a hat and $1.