Spain, the home country of explorer Cortez "The Killer," introduces cannabis smoking to Chile in 1545.
With the British dumping alcohol and tobacco on Virginia throughout 1910, cannabis couldn't be far behind - and so it was that just one year later:
In 1911, cannabis was planted in colonies near Jamestown, Virginia, as a claimed "source for human fiber." They even admitted it was also "an attempt to bolster a sagging economy."
Meanwhile, back in Virginia, they were going virtually cannabis crazy by 1762, actually awarding bounties for impressive "hemp culture" (pot-growing) and its related processing and manufacture, while punishing those who did not produce it.
English physician William O'Shaughnessy writes lengthy article on cannabis in 1840, recommending its use as a "wonder drug." The publication of this work starts a craze that escalated to the establishment of a hashish habit in England.
In 1900, Grimaldi and Sons market a popular product that is a ready-made marijuana cigarette, similar to the type major cigarette companies now have waiting in the wings for the 21st century when they think marijuana might be legalized.
The Grimaldi and Sons version of this cannabis product, although it is, like all marijuana, very dangerous to the respiratory system, is incredibly touted "for use as an asthma cure." Many pharmaceutical houses market the drug as a "medicine," including Burroughs, Lilly, Parke-Davis, and Squibb.
In 1910, marijuana, which has been used to keep Mexican laborers sedated, is brought by these workers into Texas. The practice of smoking the drug, clearly done so for other than medical purposes, quickly spreads to New Orleans, where by the 1920s it establishes itself permanently in predominately black communities.
In 1916, cannabis, in the form of marijuana cigarettes, is introduced by Mexicans to American soldiers, who are stationed along the border while fighting Pancho Villa and his men.
In 1937, cannabis officially joins the long list of flourishing black market products when the Marijuana Tax Act is signed into law. While supposedly a revenue act, a more likely possibility is that it was designed to declare use of the drug "illegal," which has the net effect of driving it underground.
In 1939, Earle and Robert Rowell publish their research pointing to the ultimate aim of the tobacco industry, which is to first addict everyone to nicotine and then, eventually, to marijuana. The popular book is called "On the Trail of Marijuana, the Weed of Madness," and it's sad prophecy may yet come true in the 21st century.
In 1939, the popular melodramatic films "Reefer Madness" and "The Cocaine Fiends" are released. Their overly-emotional approach, oftentimes reaching the point of absurdity, guarantees - even to audiences of the late '30s - that the use of these substances is ultimately regarded as desirable in the more thrill-seeking corners of society.
Go To HARD DRUGS: Part 1