The Re-emerging Legal Cannabis Market: It’s Not as New as You Might Think


Researched by John Novak

People are saying that there has never been a commercial market for cannabis in the USA.  Washington State and Colorado are claiming to be the first in the world to bring this plant to market.

I don’t know why they keep saying this because it just is not true.  You have to go back a bit in time, but not that far to see that growing cannabis for it’s drug value and the ability to sell it retail is not new.

A great source of historical information is at

Here’s more proof directly from t:he US Department of Agriculture where it is obvious they are not talking about industrial hemp!

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farmers’ Bulletin No. 663
Drug Plants Under Cultivation
Washington, D.C.
Issued June, 1915
Revised April, 1927
U.S. Government Printing Office: 1929

 By W. W. Stockberger, Senior Physiologist in Charge, Drug, Poisonous, and Oil Plants, Bureau of Plant Industry

From the section titled, “THE CULTIVATION AND HANDLING OF DRUG PLANTS”, pp. 16-17.


 The drug cannabis (Cannabis sativa) consists of the dried flowering tops of the female plants. The plant grows well over a considerable portion of the United States, but the production of the active principle is believed to be favored by a warm climate. For drug purposes, therefore, this crop appears to be adapted to the Southern rather than to the Northern States.

Cannabis is propagated from seeds, which should be planted in the spring as soon as conditions are suitable, in well-prepared sandy or clayey loam, at a depth of about an inch in rows 5 or 6 feet apart. The seeds may be dropped every 2 or 3 inches in the row or planted in hills about a foot apart in the row, 6 to 10 seeds being dropped into each hill. Two or three pounds of seed per acre should give a good stand. About half the seeds will produce male plants, which must be removed before their flowers mature, otherwise, the female plants will set seed, thereby diminishing their value as a drug. The male plants can be recognized with certainty only by the presence of stamens in their flowers.

Ordinary stable or barnyard manure plowed in deeply is better for use as a fertilizer than commercial preparations and may be safely applied at the rate of 20 tons per acre. Good results may be obtained, however, with commercial fertilizers, such as are used for truck crops and potatoes, when cultivated in between the rows at the rate of 500 or 600 pounds per acre.

When the female plants reach maturity a sticky resin forms on the heavy, compact flower clusters, and harvesting may then be begun. The tops of the plants comprising the flower clusters are cut and carefully dried in the shade to preserve the green color as far as possible. Drying can best be done, especially in damp weather, by the use of artificial heat, not to exceed 140° F.

For several years cannabis of standard (U.S.P.) quality has been grown on a commercial scale in this country, chiefly in South Carolina and Virginia. After the flowering tops are harvested they are thoroughly dried under cover, then worked over by hand, and all the stems and large foliage leaves removed. This process gives a drug of high quality but greatly reduces the net or marketable yield per acre, which usually ranges from 350 to 400 pounds. Some growers do not remove the stems and leaves, thus increasing the acreage yield but reducing the market value of their product. The quality of cannabis can be determined only by special laboratory tests, which most dealers are not equipped to make; and consequently, they are usually unwilling to pay growers as high prices as they would if the low-grade cannabis were kept off the market.

The market price in January, 1927, for domestic cannabis (U.S.P.) was 23 to 33 cents a pound.

The National Cancer Institute also reports the following on their webpage at


Cannabis use for medicinal purposes dates back at least 3,000 years.[1-5] It was introduced into Western medicine in the 1840s by W.B. O’Shaughnessy, a surgeon who learned of its medicinal properties while working in India for the British East Indies Company. Its use was promoted for reported analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and anticonvulsant effects.

In 1937, the U.S. Treasury Department introduced the Marihuana Tax Act. This Act imposed a levy of $1 per ounce for medicinal use of Cannabis and $100 per ounce for recreational use. Physicians in the United States were the principal opponents of the Act. The American Medical Association (AMA) opposed the Act because physicians were required to pay a special tax for prescribing Cannabis, use special order forms to procure it, and keep special records concerning its professional use. In addition, the AMA believed that objective evidence that Cannabis was harmful was lacking and that passage of the Act would impede further research into its medicinal worth.[6] In 1942, Cannabis was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia because of persistent concerns about its potential to cause harm.[2,3]

In 1951, Congress passed the Boggs Act, which for the first time, included Cannabis with narcotic drugs. In 1970, with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana was classified as a Schedule I drug. Drugs in this category are distinguished as having no accepted medicinal use. Other Schedule I substances include heroin, LSD, mescaline, methaqualone, and gamma-hydroxybutyrate.

Despite its designation as having no medicinal use, Cannabis was distributed to patients by the U.S. government on a case-by-case basis under the Compassionate Use Investigational New Drug program established in 1978. Distribution of Cannabis through this program was discontinued in 1992.[1-4] Although federal law prohibits the use of Cannabis, the table below lists the localities that permit its use for certain medical conditions.

One comment

  1. […] I started reading through some of his recent articles, and found this great article about the pre-1937 medicinal cannabis market. It quotes a U.S. Department of Agriculture farmer’s bulletin which gives some great hints […]