Date of Award


Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors






Marijuana -- United States -- History -- 19th century, Marijuana -- United States -- History -- 20th century, Marijuana -- Therapeutic use, Marijuana -- Government policy -- United States, Marijuana -- Law and legislation -- United States, Marijuana -- United States -- Public opinion




2009 was an all-star year for cannabis. The U.S. Justice Department stated its position not to focus resources on individuals in compliance with state medical marijuana laws, though reserved its attorneys' discretion to do so with plenary authority. Fifteen states having already enacted permissive legislation in defiance of the federal position, the Illinois and New Jersey senates approved medical marijuana laws, and a bill was introduced in California that would make it the first state to legalize cannabis. The American Medical Association recommended that marijuana's Schedule I status be reviewed, to facilitate clinical studies and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, while explicitly denying endorsement to existing state medical marijuana programs or legalization. Here are agents -localized-centralized power relationships (i.e. state-federal), medical professionals -which have been conspicuous throughout the U.S. history of cannabis. While the above events may indicate a growing acceptance of cannabis (associated with a maturing breadth of cannabis knowledge), they also express each group's desire to maintain the power of arbitration over how it will be situated in their respective spheres of authority. In the past, these same power struggles undermined its status and make it the contested plant it remains today.


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