Marijuana has been used for achieving the feeling of euphoria since ancient times (“History of Marijuana”). This drug was brought from Asia to Europe at least as early as A.D. 500. People had been smoking marijuana around the world, dating back as far as 2737 B.C. China (“Historical Timeline”). The Spanish brought it to America in 1545, and the English arrived with it in Jamestown in 1611, where it became a major commercial crop, eventually replaced in the American south by cotton (Miller). Marijuana, then known as hemp, was a principal crop at Mount Vernon and a secondary crop at Monticello (“History of Marijuana in America”). They grew it primarily for use as hemp rope, but there is some evidence that they were aware of its hallucinogenic properties as well (“Common Menu Bar Links”). People believed it enhanced their mind, and was used as a remedy for earache, edema, and inflammation (“History of Marijuana Use: Medical and Intoxicant”). Marijuana was first used in the U.S. for medical purposes in the 1800's. “Although marijuana had been around for a long time, widespread use of marijuana as a recreational drug did not become widespread until alcohol was banned during the Prohibition Era (1920 – 1933). Before that time period, marijuana had been used in the Americas for hundreds of years as a medicine. Once the federal government banned alcohol, marijuana took its place as the recreational drug of choice and its use soared.” After alcohol was legal again, use of marijuana sharply declined (“Why Marijuana Became Illegal”).
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