American sailors and Mexican farm laborers introduced marijuana in the U.S. in the early 1900s.

Marijuana later spread to the African-American jazz scene in the 1940s and 50s, then among the beatniks in the 1950s, and eventually to American universities in the late 60s. From there marijuana grew in popularity to become the mainstay drug in American culture. A survey in 1960 showed that only 3 percent of American adults (ages 18 -25) had ever used marijuana. By 1970, that number grew to 40%, and by 1980 it was over 55%.

Marijuana thus emerged as the culturally significant drug of the hip culture, symbolic of freedom and youth protests against the establishment, whose drug of choice was alcohol. However, its staying power ultimately had more to do with its easy access and cultivation in sharp contrast with the complexity of making LSD, cocaine, or heroin. While the latter two are imported from Latin America, over 60% of the marijuana consumed in the U.S. is cultivated in California alone. And the percentage is likely to grow as more states continue to legalize its recreational and medicinal use. The Canadian market is already self-sufficient.

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Posted by Anaïs Faure