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The history of marijuana is murky, ever since Napoleon banned his troops from using hash and infused drinks, following the invasion of Egypt in 1800. This set in motion a series of events that lead to most countries of the world prohibiting the plant. Because of this, it's ancient history remains unclear due to the attempt to cover it up by said countries. But motivated stoners all around the world have managed to track patches of its progress throughout history.
First we start in central and eastern Asia, 500 BC, where hemp seeds are used as food, plant material is utilised for clothes, furniture and rope. At this point the hemp plant contains very little tetrahydrocannabinol. There is evidence that communities using the hemp plant were aware of the psychoactive properties, burnt hemp seeds have been found in the graves of shamans in ancient China. As time moves on, the hemp plant travels the world, its fast growing time and easy cultivation means it becomes very popular with early farmers to sell for the uses mentioned previously.
Eventually hemp reached the far corners of the world, first Africa, then Europe and finally the Americas in 1545, where the Spaniards shipped the seeds off to Chile as use for its fibres. This spread into South America is what starts our "descent" into cannabis as we know it today, the Mexicans take the idea of "flowering" the plants, and run with it, here we start the story of the Narcos.
Because of the increase in THC levels through breeding and climate (intentional or not, we will never know) the Southern Americans, and specifically the Mexicans, were able to harness peoples love for the feeling they got when they smoked it and make money from it, forming a cartel that eventually took Mexico over for a short period in its history. Eventually one bright spark had the idea of splitting the male plants from the female plants, this meant the female plants, in flowering, would not be fertilised, still producing the cannabis flower, but not the seeds integrated into said flower. This would be coined "sinsemilla," translating literally to "without seed." This boosted the cannabis economy even more, allowing the cartel to spread the flower to the US of A.
While America had already acquired the hemp plant, and put very good use to it, they hadn't experienced the psychoactive brother, marijuana. Cannabis reached the USA in the 1890s and took flight into the hearts and lungs of the good people of America. Fast forward to 1937 and America starts the federal prohibition. This starts an 80 year long war between weed smokers and the government, and after Nixon's War on Drugs. In 1971, cannabis was pushed further underground, not helped by the fact that illegal drugs were being fed into the lower classes to imprison and undercut minorities and the population of "expendables" within America. Of course, with this, the rest of the western world followed suit meaning it was now illegal in majority of the world to smoke something planted, grown and plucked from the soil.
The 2000s, the golden green century, so far, year after year more and more countries legalise cannabis. Now more and more research is being done and more reasons to legalise it are becoming unveiled. Governments are finally realising the problem is in controlling marijuana, not banning it.