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Since recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado, which took place in 2012, there has been a wave of progress rapidly growing across the United States. In 2018, where we are now, marijuana has become legal in many states, specifically for medicinal reasons. In fact, it has been legal in 23 states and four states have embraced the legal and recreational use of marijuana.

For that reason, millions of people in the United States are able to purchase and use cannabis without fearing criminal penalties and charges. The federal government, however, is still refusing to acknowledge the fact that marijuana has a lot of medicinal benefits. The feds have also refused to accept the decriminalization of marijuana. The feds have placed marijuana plant in the same category as drugs like heroin, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy, among others.

Evolution and Exposure

As the marijuana legalization tide continues to be transformed across the nation, the status of marijuana as it relates to the federal government may change, but not everyone is optimistic with Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration owning the last word. Let's take a look at marijuana legalization and how the five major presidents have played a part in its progress or lack of progress in relation to the federal government. Over the years, there has been an evolution and exposure showing the complication that exists between the federal and state laws as it pertains to marijuana legalization.

George Washington, President from 1789 to 1797

George Washington is considered the founding father of the United States. He became president in 1789, coming from being a hemp farmer who is known to have documented his hard work in separating male counterparts from female marijuana plants rich in THC. He had a farm in Mount Vernon, which is now a place where tourists go to learn about the first president who embraced hemp and used it to make canvas, rope, and fishing nets. While President Washington made all this progress with hemp, unfortunately, it was phased out for wheat and tobacco. Other presidents ignored or rejected any idea of viewing marijuana legalization as being useful.

Woodrow Wilson President from 1913 to 1921

Woodrow Wilson became president in 1913 and was the president who signed into law, the Harrison Narcotic Act in 1914. Trade limitations were placed on opium prescriptions. The law banned the importation and exportation of all opium products, except when it used medicinally. However, even in that case, prescriptions were taxed and had to be registered with the Internal Revenue Service. So it obvious that marijuana legalization was far from being part of the federal jurisdiction.

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Richard Nixon President from 1969 to 1974

Richard Nixon became an American President in 1969 and was one of them who tightened the federal reigns on the use of recreational drugs. In fact, Nixon was the president who placed marijuana in the Schedule 1 drug category. This was the time that the government declared a War on Drugs. During Nixon's tenure, scientific recommendations was suppressed that the medicinal benefits of marijuana was ineffective. There was no room for marijuana legalization in Nixon's era.

Jimmy Carter, President from 1977 to1981

Jimmy Carter is known as the 39th president of the United States. He erased the idea that people should be excessively punished for the possession of small quantities of marijuana in lieu of the fact that marijuana had medicinal value. President Carter made changes in less than one year that he took office. He made his plans known to congress in a lengthy speech about how he would handle drug abuse. He planned to end the ridiculous penalties that the feds initiated for those in possession of marijuana. His recommendation was decriminalization of marijuana on the federal level. Carter understood the benefits of the personal use of marijuana and how it was much less harmless than others thought.

Barack Obama, President from 2009 to 2017

President Obama assumed the office of the presidency in 2009 and while he was a little reluctant in discussing marijuana legalization, he did allow the states to make their own marijuana laws without too much federal interference. In other words, he softened his stance on marijuana. Although, still enforcing federal cannabis laws in the states where marijuana legalization had been embraced by residents. In fact, President Obama is said to have indicated that using marijuana is just a bad habit. Which was no more harmful to the user than alcohol consumption.  

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