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2727 B.C.
Some 4,500 years ago, Chinese Emperor Shen Nung wrote the first recorded accounts of cannabis’ medical uses.

500 B.C.
Persians, Indians, Muslims, and ancient Greeks and Romans record various uses for centuries.

Cannabis is likely brought to North America and introduced to the first U.S. colonies by the Spanish.

Farmers in colonies like Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut increasingly grow and use the plant.

Utah becomes the first state to outlaw cannabis. Over the next 20 years, more than 30 states, including Colorado, follow suit.

The federal Marijuana Tax Act essentially bans the sale of the plant by imposing heavy excise taxes.

Two Colorado men become the first to be convicted. Both serve prison time. More than 26 million cannabis arrests will take place across the country between then and 2019.

The Boggs Act enacts stiff, mandatory sentences for cannabis use or sale.

The Shafer Commission recommends decriminalizing cannabis and removing its Schedule 1 status. Then, President Nixon rejects the opinion of the investigative body he appointed.

Congress passes the Controlled Substances Act and places cannabis in the Schedule 1 category. This most restrictive category deemed cannabis, along with heroin and LSD, as having no medical uses and a high potential for abuse, thus making it nearly impossible to do research or use in medical applications.

Oregon, Alaska, and Maine become the first states to decriminalize cannabis despite its Schedule 1 status.

New Mexico approves the first medical cannabis research program. It allows physicians to prescribe federally grown cannabis to cancer patients. The program dissolves eight years later.

California voters approve the Compassionate Use Act, making it the first state to legalize medical cannabis use for people with severe or chronic illnesses. Since then, 29 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico approve medical cannabis use.

Colorado approves medical cannabis use.

Colorado and Washington become the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis. Since then, eight more states legalize recreational use.

Dec. 2013
Uruguay becomes the first country to legalize cannabis nationwide.

The Obama administration releases a memo that essentially allows states to legalize cannabis.

April 2018
The STATES Act is introduced in the senate. It would protect states from federal laws regarding cannabis. The republican senate majority leader later kills the measure by refusing to bring it to a vote.

Jan. 2018
The Trump administration rescinds Obama-era guidelines, making states and users vulnerable to federal legal action.

December 2018
Reports show 2018 saw $10.4 billion from the industry. Colorado cannabis taxes bring in $266 million.

April 2019
Colorado Republican Cory Gardner joins Democrat Elizabeth Warren in re-introducing The STATES Act.

Cannabis remains a Schedule 1 narcotic. Two-thirds of the country have state cannabis legalization laws. Worldwide, countries begin legalizing its use at record speed. Major companies begin investing in the multi-billion dollar industry. The industry becomes the fastest-growing job market in the country.