Federal Government’s Prohibition Of Cannabis Passes 75-Year Milestone

Sam Caldwell: First Man Ever Arrested for MarijuanaWashington, DC: The federal government’s ongoing criminalization of cannabis turned 75-years-old on Monday, October 1.

The Marihuana Tax Act, the first federal law criminally restricting Americans’ possession and cultivation of the cannabis plant went into effect on October 1, 1937. The United States Supreme Court struck down the law in 1969. Marijuana is presently prohibited under federal law because it is classified as a schedule I substance under the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Since 1965, over law enforcement have made over 22 million arrests for marijuana offenses.

According to a 2011 nationwide Gallup poll, a majority of the public now favors ending marijuana prohibition and regulating the substance in a manner similar to alcohol or tobacco.

This November, voters in three states – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – will decide at the ballot box whether to allow for the limited legalization of cannabis for adults. The measures lead in Colorado and Washington. Oregon voters are divided on the issue of legalizing cannabis.

Stated NORML Executive Director Allen Sty. Pierre: "Today, we reflect upon the decades of failure imposed by prohibition. Tomorrow, we look to the very near future when cannabis prohibition is abolished once and for all."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at: allen@norml.org, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.