15 of the Most Interesting Facts About Marijuana

In this post, we’ve gathered 15 of the most interesting facts about marijuana. Enjoy this article while you also learn something new about the most common illegal drug in the United States!

Interesting Facts About Marijuana

Marijuana Statistics and Fast Facts

Recent Gallup poll numbers show that Americans are more likely now, than at any point in the past five decades, to support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S! 68% of American adults who currently back the measure is not statistically different from last year’s 66%; however, it’s Gallup’s highest reading, surpassing the 64% to 66% range seen between 2017 and 2019.

Marijuana is the most common illegal drug used in the United States. Approximately 100 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once, and more than 25 million have smoked it in the last year.

According to one national survey on drug use, each day approximately 6,000 Americans try marijuana for the first time.

Worldwide, it is estimated that about 162 million adults use marijuana at least once per year, and 22.5 million use the drug daily.

After alcohol, marijuana is the most popular recreational or mood-altering drug used worldwide.

There are over 200 slang terms for marijuana in the popular vernacular. Some of the more common nicknames include pot, grass, weed, hash, and ganja.

The first recorded use of marijuana as a medicinal drug occurred in 2737 B.C. by Chinese emperor Shen Nung. The emperor documented the drug’s effectiveness in treating the pains of rheumatism and gout.

The first law in the American colonies regarding marijuana was a 1619 law that actually required farmers to grow the hemp plant.

During the temperance movement of the 1890s, marijuana was commonly recommended as a substitute for alcohol.

Prior to its ban, hemp was a staple cash crop of the family farm in early America. The first two drafts of the United States Declaration of Independence were written on paper made from hemp.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 made it illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana in the United States. The law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use.

In 2007, nearly 900,000 arrests for marijuana violations were made in the United States. 

From 1850 to 1942, marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a useful medicine for nausea, rheumatism, and labor pains and was easily obtained at the local general store or pharmacy.

In 2003, Canada became the first country in the world to offer medical marijuana to pain-suffering patients.

In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to legally allow medical marijuana for patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation.

While marijuana is still a controlled substance under federal law, 13 U.S. states currently have compassionate use laws in place, which allow for regulated medical marijuana use: AK, CA, CO, HI, ME, MI, MT, NV, NM, OR, RI, VT, and WA. An additional 17 states and the District of Columbia have legislated to recognize the value of medical marijuana but do not protect users from federal prosecution.

Need Further Marijuana Advice?

If you need advice on marijuana possession charges or issues, schedule a call with a trusted marijuana lawyer. Contact Austin, Tx criminal defense lawyer James Gill to get informed and protect your legal rights.

Why is Marijuana Illegal?

There are many reasons why marijuana is still illegal. Here are the five biggest reasons why.

1. It is Seen as an Addictive Substance

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug on the basis that it has “a high potential for abuse.”

It means that the perception is that people who choose to use marijuana, are likely to become addicted and may let the drug take over their lives.

2. The Notion that Marijuana has “no Accepted Medical Use.”

Marijuana seems to yield considerable medical benefits for many Americans with ailments ranging from glaucoma to cancer, but these benefits have not been accepted well enough, on a national level. As marijuana remains illegal, it’s health benefits remain a serious national controversy.

3. It Has Been Historically Linked with Narcotics, Such as Heroin.

Early anti-drug laws were written to regulate narcotics–opium and its derivatives, such as heroin and morphine. Marijuana, though not a narcotic, was described as such–along with cocaine.

The association stuck, and there is now a vast gulf in the American consciousness between “normal” recreational drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, and “abnormal” recreational drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Marijuana is generally associated with the latter category, which is why it can be convincingly portrayed as a“gateway drug.”

4. Inertia is a Powerful Force in Public Policy.

If something has been banned for only a short period of time, then the ban is seen as unstable. If something has been banned for a long time, however, then the ban–no matter how ill-conceived it might be–tends to go unenforced long before it is actually taken off the books.

5. Historic Racism Allowed Politicians to Demonize Marijuana.

Harry Anslinger, the father of the war on weed, fully embraced racism as a tool to demonize marijuana. As the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a predecessor to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Anslinger institutionalized his belief that pot’s “effect on the degenerate races” made its prohibition a top priority. Here are just a few of his most famous (and most racist) quotes:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

It was “more dangerous than heroin or cocaine” and “leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing,’’ he claimed.

But drug historian David Courtwright, through a Freedom of Information Act request, got his hands on the actual surveys and found the data to have been fabricated. He also found a private memo from Anslinger admitting the numbers were made up. Nevertheless, Anslinger used that success to argue for an expansion of the drug war to weed in 1937.

When Did Marijuana Become Illegal?

To understand why marijuana is still illegal, we have to first go back to when it first became illegal. Though there had been some regulations on cannabis and therefore marijuana, there continued to be criticisms about the availability of narcotics and around 1910 there was a wave of legislation aimed to strengthen requirements for their sale. 

The new revisions aimed to restrict all narcotics, including cannabis, as poisons, limit their sale to pharmacies, and require doctor’s prescriptions. The first instance was in the District of Columbia in 1906. The Pure Food and Drug Act was then passed in 1906.

Further regulation of cannabis followed in Massachusetts (1911), New York (1914), and Maine (1914). In New York, reform legislation began, which targeted all “habit-forming drugs”, that restricted marijuana even further.[13] 

In the West, the first state to include cannabis as a poison was California.

Other states followed with marijuana laws including: Wyoming (1915); Texas (1919); Iowa (1923); Nevada (1923); Oregon (1923); Washington (1923); Arkansas (1923); and Nebraska (1927).[16]

Can a DWI Be Dismissed in Texas?

If you recently received a DWI charge, the following information may end up saving your job, your career, and even your housing. It is essential first to understand the distinction between DWI (also known as driving while intoxicated) and DUI, which the state defines as driving under the influence. 

getting domestic violence charges dismissed

Understanding DWI and DUI Charges in Texas

It’s important to understand the difference between a DUI vs DWI in Texas. Texas charges anyone over the age of 21 arrested for impaired driving with DWI. If you’re a minor and have any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, you can be charged with a DUI. The penalties for minors charged with DUI are much less harsh than being accused of a DWI. 

What is the Penalty of a DWI in Texas

It’s important to note that a minor can be charged with either a DUI or DWI, but only an adult can be charged with a DWI in the state of Texas. Other states like Arizona have DUIs for adults, which corresponds to a BAC level greater than zero but below 0.08.

The attitude towards DWIs in the state of Texas has changed dramatically since the mid-80s and with the advent of MADD: Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In response to public pressure, the legislature enacted changes roughly three decades ago that increased penalties and employed harsher penalties on criminal defendants charged with DWI. 

The thought process was that stricter penalties and harsher punishments would reduce drinking and driving in Texas. Since then, however, the state of Texas has arrested hundreds of thousands of people and convicted them of driving while intoxicated, so it seems the harsher penalties have done little concerning reducing the number of people drinking and driving in Texas. 

For a first offense DWI in Texas, you may be sentenced up to six months in jail and fined up to $2,000. You may also lose your driver’s license for up to 180 days and be subject to additional fines and court costs, commonly around $10,000. 

Many factors go into the punishment of a DWI charge if you are convicted. These factors can include:

  • Your age
  • Your physical health
  • Your employment background
  • Professional licenses that you may hold
  • Prior criminal history
  • Whether or not an accident was involved
  • Whether or not the charge involved dangerous driving
  • Whether or not you injured anyone as a result of your driving

With so many factors to consider, the range of punishments upon conviction is vast, almost by default. 

The purpose of this article is to teach you ways in which you can avoid a conviction for driving while intoxicated. The state of Texas must bring charges against you for driving while intoxicated within two years of the date of the offense. If you are not charged by an information within two years, the case is barred from proceeding under the statute of limitations.  This is an important factor and one frequently overlooked by defense attorneys who are not experts in the area of DWI law. 

In today’s world, especially in big cities, most DWI arrests result in either giving a breath test specimen or applying a warrant to draw your blood. Due to the sheer number of arrests where police officers request warrant blood-draws, the volume of testing at accredited labs has become very backlogged. In instances where the state fails to bring charges within a timely fashion, an experienced DWI lawyer will file a motion to have the charges rejected due to the state’s failure to file within the statute of limitations.

Possible consequences of a DWI include:

  1. A jail sentence for up to 180 days. 
  2. A fine up to $2,000. 
  3. Being placed on community supervision for a term up to two years. 

Standard terms of community supervision include performing community service hours, attending classes on alcohol and intoxication, and/or having some form of alcohol monitoring device either equipped on your vehicle or person. Additionally, the state can restrict your freedom to travel, and you are subject to random drug and alcohol testing throughout the term of your probation (which, of course, you get to pay for!).

How Long Does a DWI Stay On Your Record?

Not only are the penalties for DWI in Texas some of the harshest in the country, if you’re convicted of a DWI in Texas, it’s a permanent conviction on your record. That means it stays on there forever. To remove a DWI charge from your record, you should hire an experienced DWI attorney who is familiar with the laws in the state of Texas and all the possible ways to prevent a DWI conviction.

Getting DWI Charges Reduced Or Dismissed

However, all hope is not lost, as there are four specific ways in which a DWI charge can be expunged from your record.

  1. If you are eligible and the county where you were arrested offers it, a pre-trial diversion program is an option. If completed, the pre-trial diversion would allow the DWI to be dismissed, and you would be eligible at that point to expunge it off of your record. Diversion programs do not exist in every county, nor is every person arrested for a first-offense DWI eligible. You should always speak with an experienced DWI attorney before making an election to pursue a pre-trial diversion program. 
  2. If negotiations between your lawyer and the state result in a dismissal of DWI charges, you would be eligible to expunge the charge from your record after waiting a predetermined time of two years (the statute of limitations regarding expunging the case).
  3. An experienced DWI attorney knows to look at all the case facts and evaluate whether the officer legally stopped and arrested an individual. Experienced DWI attorneys know the law. If they believe an instance has occurred where a police officer did not observe a traffic law to stop a vehicle, they will file a motion to suppress with the court. Suppose the judge agrees with the defense counsel‘s motion to suppress evidence based upon the officer not having a valid legal reason for the stop. In that case, the judge can order all evidence to be excluded, and thus the state would have no choice but to dismiss the case.
  4. If you’re found not guilty by a jury or judge in the driving while intoxicated case, your case is eligible for expungement. An additional benefit being that the filing fees associated with an expungement are waived if filed within the first 30 days after a not-guilty verdict.

Getting DWI charges dismissed or reduced is the primary goal of an experienced DWI attorney. Knowing the right questions to ask, the correct law on the subject, and the way to properly evaluate the evidence against an individual is crucial in determining whether or not you’ll be able to get a DWI charge off of your record. 

If you’re looking to beat a DWI charge in the state of Texas, be prepared to…

Wait! The process can take a very long time. Typical cases average a year in length or longer. While patiently waiting isn’t always comfortable, we can’t rush the courts. It’ll take time.

Listen to what your attorney says. Follow their instructions and heed any advice that they may give you for the duration of your case. While they should evaluate each case explicitly before determining the correct course of action, your attorney may ask you to take alcohol classes, have an alcohol monitoring device, or provide employment verification. 

Experienced Austin DWI lawyers know what the state is looking for and, just as necessary, what the state is not looking for with regard to mitigating factors that can help in defense of your DWI case. 

Always be truthful in talking with your attorney. If they do not know the correct facts on the case, you’ll put them in a detrimental situation when defending and arguing on your behalf.

What Can Negatively Affect Chances of a DWI Dismissal?

Several specific things can negatively affect the chances of getting your DWI dismissed. These factors include: 

  • Getting re-arrested for an alcohol-related offense while your DWI case is pending.
  • Driving with a suspended license.
  • Having alcohol-related violations on an alcohol monitoring device, including IID, PAM, and/or SCRAM.
  • Failing to show up for court settings properly.
  • Testing positive for drugs or alcohol while you’re out on bond.

Naming the cost of having a DWI charge dismissed in Texas is as complicated or as simple as saying what a house costs. Everyone knows houses can cost only a few thousand dollars, or beyond $100 million. The details of each case, the judge’s requirements, the prosecution’s requests, required classes/devices, the county… all of these details can contribute to the cost of completing the case.

Rate of DWI Charges Dismissed in Texas 

The dismissal rates also vary widely depending upon the county of arrest. In Travis County, for example, DWI conviction rates were approximately 25% (75% dismissal) until police and law-enforcement moved to mandatory blood testing about ten years ago.  Conviction rates have skyrocketed since the advent of compulsory blood testing, thus resulting in a much lower dismissal rate for DWIs as a whole. It’s more important than ever to hire an experienced DWI attorney to have the best possible chance of receiving a DWI dismissal.

Hire an Expert Texas Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, don’t hesitate to contact experienced criminal defense attorney James Gill today for DWI help. Defending citizens accused of driving while intoxicated or controlled substance charges has been James Gill’s primary practice since 2005.

Call 512-448-4560 today to schedule a consultation. Austin Criminal Lawyer James Gill serves all of Austin, Westlake, Kyle, Buda, San Marcos, and the surrounding Texas communities.

Police Brutality Protests in Downtown Austin

Since the recent death of George Floyd in the city of Minneapolis, Austin, Texas has seen day after day of protests resembling those of the Black Lives Matter marches across the U.S. and across the world.

Black lives matters protesters

While at times anti-police brutality marches have turned violent themselves, the issue of which the Black Lives Matter movement represents should not be misunderstood. This is not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue. At its core, the movement is centered on the fact that blacks receive unequal and unfair treatment from the police.

It’s no secret that blacks are subjected to more police brutality than any other race, and it is often an unspoken or taboo subject. It has rarely—if ever—received the type of public notoriety it receives today. The hope and a dream of the Black Lives Matter movement is essentially the same thing that was written in our declaration of independence: all people are created equal and deserve equal treatment in the eyes of the law.

The Anti-Police Brutality Protests Has Led to Increased Force by Police

Besides peaceful marches, incidents in Austin have ranged from fires of all kinds (dumpsters, trash, cars)  to vandalism of neighborhood businesses. The ironic part of the movement is that anti-police brutality protests have actually led to increased force being used by police. When protesters marched and took over I-35 in Austin, Texas in early June 2020, they were met with rubber bullets, bean bags, and tear gas being fired at them by Austin police officers. 

Sadly, some officers began using excessive force with regard to peaceful protesters, including shooting a 16-year-old in the face with a “bean bag” who was 100 yards away from the scene of people blocking I-35. This officer is currently under investigation as it appears he deliberately attempted to injure an innocent child. People also have a misconception about non-lethal rounds. They may not kill you, but you may have enduring detrimental physical effects as evidenced by the fact that over 10% of people shot with rubber bullets have lifelong repercussions from them.

How Austin Citizens Are Calling for Change in the City of Austin

Police departments, including the Austin Police Department, have come under public fire for using what is deemed non-lethal force, and citizens across the country (again, including Austin) are demanding change. They want the police to receive additional training and education about how to use less lethal mechanisms in their law enforcement procedures.

These demands by the public have not gone unheard. The City of Austin has acted and called for the city to review its police protocols, while also looking at potentially defunding parts of the police department.

How These Protests Are Different From Past Marches

Protests are a vital part of the American way of life and one of our individual freedoms. They haven’t changed much in the many years they’ve been held, but one of the main differences in today’s protests is that nearly everyone has a smartphone and can record video. 

With the presence of social media, thousands of images and angles of police brutality are caught on camera and uploaded to the Internet for everyone’s viewing and sharing pleasure. More people are seeing what the people on the front line have always seen.

Charged With A Crime at the Downtown Austin Protests? Contact Criminal Defense Attorney James Gill

If you or anyone you know has been injured by the police during a protest, they should contact Austin criminal defense attorney James Gill to find out what can be done. Contact us online today.

Police Brutality Protests in Downtown Austin

Since the recent death of George Floyd in the city of Minneapolis, Austin, Texas has seen day after day of protests resembling those of the Black Lives Matter marches across the U.S. and across the world.

Black lives matters protesters

While at times anti-police brutality marches have turned violent themselves, the issue of which the Black Lives Matter movement represents should not be misunderstood. This is not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue. At its core, the movement is centered on the fact that blacks receive unequal and unfair treatment from the police.

It’s no secret that blacks are subjected to more police brutality than any other race, and it is often an unspoken or taboo subject. It has rarely—if ever—received the type of public notoriety it receives today. The hope and a dream of the Black Lives Matter movement is essentially the same thing that was written in our declaration of independence: all people are created equal and deserve equal treatment in the eyes of the law.

The Anti-Police Brutality Protests Has Led to Increased Force by Police

Besides peaceful marches, incidents in Austin have ranged from fires of all kinds (dumpsters, trash, cars)  to vandalism of neighborhood businesses. The ironic part of the movement is that anti-police brutality protests have actually led to increased force being used by police. When protesters marched and took over I-35 in Austin, Texas in early June 2020, they were met with rubber bullets, bean bags, and tear gas being fired at them by Austin police officers. 

Sadly, some officers began using excessive force with regard to peaceful protesters, including shooting a 16-year-old in the face with a “bean bag” who was 100 yards away from the scene of people blocking I-35. This officer is currently under investigation as it appears he deliberately attempted to injure an innocent child. People also have a misconception about non-lethal rounds. They may not kill you, but you may have enduring detrimental physical effects as evidenced by the fact that over 10% of people shot with rubber bullets have lifelong repercussions from them.

How Austin Citizens Are Calling for Change in the City of Austin

Police departments, including the Austin Police Department, have come under public fire for using what is deemed non-lethal force, and citizens across the country (again, including Austin) are demanding change. They want the police to receive additional training and education about how to use less lethal mechanisms in their law enforcement procedures.

These demands by the public have not gone unheard. The City of Austin has acted and called for the city to review its police protocols, while also looking at potentially defunding parts of the police department.

How These Protests Are Different From Past Marches

Protests are a vital part of the American way of life and one of our individual freedoms. They haven’t changed much in the many years they’ve been held, but one of the main differences in today’s protests is that nearly everyone has a smartphone and can record video. 

With the presence of social media, thousands of images and angles of police brutality are caught on camera and uploaded to the Internet for everyone’s viewing and sharing pleasure. More people are seeing what the people on the front line have always seen.

Charged With A Crime at the Downtown Austin Protests? Contact Criminal Defense Attorney James Gill

If you or anyone you know has been injured by the police during a protest, they should contact Austin criminal defense attorney James Gill to find out what can be done. Contact us online today.

How To Deal with Stress and Anger to Prevent Domestic Violence During the Coronavirus Quarantine

James Gill has over 15 years of experience handling criminal matters and is an expert in family violence cases and their defense.

Stressed man in isolationIn our day-to-day lives, most of us aren’t used to being at home for long periods of time, or life simply dictates that we spend a majority of our time away from our family. Being asked to stay home as much as possible for the foreseeable future, no matter how much you love your spouse and your children, being mandated to spend nearly all of your time with them will bring with it some unexpected challenges…

Continue reading “How To Deal with Stress and Anger to Prevent Domestic Violence During the Coronavirus Quarantine”

Can US Customs Search Your Phone? CBP Detaining and Testing Privacy at the Austin Bergstrom Airport

Austinite Detained for Hours, Questioned, and Digitally Ransacked by ABIA Security Agents

austin-airport-security

Austin airport security has been becoming more and more intrusive, but according to a recent article in The Intercept, summer just got a lot hotter at our local airport. In May, journalist and Austin native Seth Harp was in the line at the Austin airport, returning from a reporting trip to Mexico City. He was pulled from the line by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), questioned, and detained for four hours. During that time, officers read every page of his personal journal, pored through everything on his phone and laptop, and searched his luggage, all without a warrant. When Harp attempted to call a lawyer, officers took his phone.

Continue reading “Can US Customs Search Your Phone? CBP Detaining and Testing Privacy at the Austin Bergstrom Airport”

Jeff Sessions on Marijuana: Taking Billions From Americans

Attorney general Jeff Sessions’ anti-marijuana policy is aimed to cripple a multi-billion dollar industry, and will put millions of Americans out of work. The recently renewed war on marijuana is aimed at taking no prisoners, and kicking every American in the industry to the curb. Sessions has placed marijuana on the Schedule I substance list, along with LSD and heroin. If the government truly wants to take aim at the national debt, there would be no better place to start than continuing the expansion of the legal marijuana industry. However, Jeff Sessions is looking to roll back previous policy, which effectively eliminate jobs estimated to reach over 1.1 million in the next decade.

Continue reading “Jeff Sessions on Marijuana: Taking Billions From Americans”

Lying or Excessive Force, Which is Worse?

Last week, an Austin Police Department officer was fired for lying about using excessive force during an arrest. This leads us to an important question in regards to the responsibility placed on an APD officer. Are the police more concerned with the use of excessive force or officers lying about their actions in the field? In this most recent situation, the unfair treatment of a citizen was not probable cause for a police officer to be relieved of duty. The fact that the officer lied about the facts of the arrest was cause for his dismissal.Continue reading “Lying or Excessive Force, Which is Worse?”