Initially introduced to the United States by Mexican immigrants, legal cannabis has flourished in America in recent decades. Although Americans are known for their uniquely hedonistic perspective on the psychoactive drug, they have also long been keenly aware of the plant’s industrial and medical applications. George Washington was rumored to have been growing hemp, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that cannabis became another centerpiece in America’s never-ending culture war.
Despite all the hubbub about personal liberties present throughout Congressional debates since the body’s genesis, liberal, democratic ideals surrounding cannabis have yet to be implemented through federal policy. The 1970 Controlled Substances Act has led to endless, unnecessary arrests and an almost unbreakable social stigma surrounding a plant historically known for its healing abilities. Although the DEA regards cannabis as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”, the federal government isn’t the only agent of change in America; state governments have taken the lead to enact medical cannabis initiatives since the 1990s to treat various conditions such as epilepsy and dementia. These unilateral, health-minded