Reefer Gladness? The History of Cannabis Criminalization and Decriminalization (On-Demand)

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Course Description

Racism. Politics. Greed. These are generally considered to be the primary drivers behind the effort to criminalize cannabis and hemp both in the early 1900s then again in 1970. Public sentiment and the failed War on Drugs helped begin to reverse this effort starting in the 1990s but accelerating in the late 2000s, through the 2010s and currently. How and why did this plant earn the same danger status in federal regulation as heroin and LSD, which continues to this day? How did individual states manage to pass laws that directly conflict with the federal prohibition and what issues does that create? Where is legalization and decriminalization headed in the US and globally? Hear one of the top US cannabis attorneys discuss both this history and what we can learn from it as the nation moves closer to full federal legalization of cannabis.


  1. Use of cannabis and hemp prior to 1900
  2. State criminalization prior to 1937
  3. Factors leading to passage of the Marijuana Taxation Act of 1937, declared unconstitutional in 1969
  4. Nixon’s re-election and passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970
  5. Rockefeller Drug Laws, “Just Say No” and the War on Drugs
  6. California legalized medical cannabis in 1996
  7. Rollout of other states legalizing medical and adult use cannabis
  8.  Conflicts of laws issues
  9. Prospects for federal legalization


David Feldman, Esq.

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David Feldman, Esq.

Original Date Of Course

General Credits