This plant has been a natural source of food, energy and protection from the elements for thousands of years. Up until the time our government passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, there were thoughts that this natural resource, on a commercial scale, would provide fuel oil from seed that would power cars made of hemp-resin body panels. Henry Ford himself was a pioneer in this field.
Politically, however, lobbyists from petrochemical corporations like DuPont and the fossil fuel industry were pushing hard to have the natural resource outlawed and with the MTA, they succeeded.
Later administrations, like Nixon and then Ronald Reagan, found it convenient to cast the using of Cannabis as primarily a problem with people of color and used it to lock up resistors, minorities and poor people. The War on Drugs is a failed, corrupt program that funneled money to mercenaries, poisoned entire populations in Latin America and inflated police departments with military-grade weapons, ensuring a healthy return on investment to a fraction of a percent of Americans that own stock in defense companies like Halliburton.
Cannabis should be fully legal at the federal level. Prisoners in on minor marijuana crimes should be released. Investment should be made into communities of color that have been disproportionately burdened by the prolonged and misguided war on drugs.
We should be cultivating marijuana for its medicinal properties and investing in research to further our understanding and discover new applications. We should also be growing industrial hemp for its many uses in the manufacturing, construction, energy and clothing industries.