According to the Hemp Historian, the first marijuana law in our land was enacted in 1619 in Jamestown mandating that hemp be grown. That should be no surprise, though, since the stuff is so incredibly useful. Do a quick Internet search for hemp products and you'll find everything from food products to fuel. In fact, Treehugger.com has a list of several ways to use hemp you may not have heard of before in their article, by Matthew McDermott, titled, "Perfect Plant?"
But, if hemp a plant humans have relied on for centuries is so useful, why is it illegal (especially since you can puff on it all day and it won't get you stoned like it's more-fun sister plant)? The quick answer is money. You see, other products came on the market like wood pulp and oil and the companies behind them encouraged the U.S. to ban hemp, a major competitor, spreading ridiculous rumors about its effects. (Read more about why hemp is illegal here and why it rocks here.)
All of this is ridiculous, of course. As SustainableHemp.com points out, "Hemp is one of the most diverse plants on the planet, and could literally supply most of humankind's needs for fuel, food, clothing, building products, and medicine."
But let's drag our feet on legalization legislation, shall we? Let's continue pretending it's harmful and that our state couldn't use the tax revenue it could collect if only it our legislators would stop being so Puritanical. As long as we turn away from all it can do for us, we'll continue to fuel "Mexican criminal groups," as the National Drug Intelligence Center puts it, waste money enforcing drug laws and imprisoning people involved in the trade while we continue to deny ourselves realistic alternatives to products that are harmful to us and our planet.
I don't know about you, but pot propaganda commercials from the last century crack me up.