where does most weed come from



  1. Medical Marijuana
  2. Recreational Weed
  3. Marijuana Tax Act
  4. Marijuana Legalization
  5. Effects of Marijuana
  6. Sources

Marijuana, also known as cannabis or pot, has a long history of human use. Most ancient cultures didn’t grow the plant to get high, but as herbal medicine, likely starting in Asia around 500 BC. The history of cannabis cultivation in America dates back to the early colonists, who grew hemp for textiles and rope. Political and racial factors in the 20th century led to the criminalization of marijuana in the United States, though its legal status is changing in many places.

The cannabis or hemp plant originally evolved in Central Asia before people introduced the plant into Africa, Europe and eventually the Americas. Hemp fiber was used to make clothing, paper, sails and rope, and its seeds were used as food.

Because it’s a fast-growing plant that’s easy to cultivate and has many uses, hemp was widely grown throughout colonial America and at Spanish missions in the Southwest. In the early 1600s, the Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut colonies required farmers to grow hemp.

These early hemp plants had very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects.

There’s some evidence that ancient cultures knew about the psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant. They may have cultivated some varieties to produce higher levels of THC for use in religious ceremonies or healing practice.

Burned cannabis seeds have been found in the graves of shamans in China and Siberia from as early as 500 BC.

Medical Marijuana

In the 1830s, Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish doctor studying in India, found that cannabis extracts could help lessen stomach pain and vomiting in people suffering from cholera.

By the late 1800s, cannabis extracts were sold in pharmacies and doctors’ offices throughout Europe and the United States to treat stomach problems and other ailments.

Scientists later discovered that THC was the source of marijuana’s medicinal properties. As the psychoactive compound responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects, THC also interacts with areas of the brain that are able to lessen nausea and promote hunger.

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two drugs with THC that are prescribed in pill form, Marinol and Syndros, to treat nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy and loss of appetite in AIDs patients.

Recreational Weed

An ancient Greek historian named Herodotus described the Scythians—a large group of Iranian nomads in Central Asia—inhaling the smoke from smoldering cannabis seeds and flowers to get high.

Hashish (a purified form of cannabis smoked with a pipe) was widely used throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia after about 800 AD. Its rise in popularity corresponded with the spread of Islam in the region. The Quran forbid the use of alcohol and some other intoxicating substances, but did not specifically prohibit cannabis.

In the United States, marijuana wasn’t widely used for recreational purposes until the early 1900s. Immigrants from Mexico to the United States during the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution introduced the recreational practice of smoking marijuana to American culture.

Massive unemployment and social unrest during the Great Depression stoked resentment of Mexican immigrants and public fear of the “evil weed.” As a result—and consistent with the Prohibition era’s view of all intoxicants—29 states had outlawed cannabis by 1931.

Marijuana Tax Act

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first federal U.S. law to criminalize marijuana nationwide. The Act imposed an excise tax on the sale, possession or transfer of all hemp products, effectively criminalizing all but industrial uses of the plant.

Fifty-eight-year-old farmer Samuel Caldwell was the first person prosecuted under the Act. He was arrested for selling marijuana on October 2, 1937, just one day after the Act’s passage. Caldwell was sentenced to four years of hard labor.

Industrial hemp continued to be grown in the United States throughout World War II, when its domestic cultivation was encouraged after the Philippines—a major source of imported hemp fiber—fell to Japanese forces. The last U.S. hemp fields were planted in 1957 in Wisconsin.

Marijuana Legalization

As part of the “War on Drugs,” the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, signed into law by President Richard Nixon, repealed the Marijuana Tax Act and listed marijuana as a Schedule I drug—along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy—with no medical uses and a high potential for abuse. It was identified in anti-drug programs like D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) as a “gateway drug.”

In 1972, a report from the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse (also known as the Shafer Commission) released a report titled “Marijuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding.” The report recommended “partial prohibition” and lower penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Nixon and other government officials, however, ignored the report’s findings.

California, in the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use by people with severe or chronic illnesses. Washington, D.C., 29 states and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico allow the use of cannabis for limited medical purposes.

As of June 2019, eleven states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Colorado and Washington became the first states to do so in 2012. Adults also can light up without a doctor’s prescription in Alaska, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Vermont and Oregon.

Cannabis is still illegal under U.S. federal law, however, and the evolving legal status of marijuana is a subject of ongoing controversy in the United States and around the world.

Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana’s side effects—both mental and physical—are partly responsible for its checkered legal status. Short-term effects can include euphoria or other mood changes, heightened sensory perception and increased appetite.

While many people experience a pleasant “high” feeling after using marijuana, others may experience anxiety, fear or panic. Negative effects may be more common when a person uses too much marijuana, or the cannabis is unexpectedly potent.

The amount of THC in marijuana—the chemical responsible for the drug’s potency—has increased dramatically in recent decades. In the mid-1990s, the average THC content of confiscated weed was roughly 4 percent. By 2014, it was about 12 percent, with a few strains of pot containing THC levels as high as 37 percent.


States Where Marijuana Is Legal. Business Insider
History of Cannabis. National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens.
The Illegalization of Marijuana: A Brief History. Origins: Ohio State University.
Marijuana. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
FDA and Marijuana: Questions and Answers. FDA.
Deep Dive: Marijuana. National Conference of State Legislatures.

Marijuana, also known as cannabis or pot, has a long history of human use. Most ancient cultures didn’t grow the plant to get high, but as herbal medicine,

Where does most weed come from

National Drug Intelligence Center
Domestic Cannabis Cultivation Assessment 2009
July 2009

Primary Foreign Source Countries for Marijuana

Domestic marijuana production appears to be at the highest recorded levels; however, production in neighboring Mexico and Canada also supplies much of the demand for marijuana in the United States. Although no reliable estimates exist regarding the amount of foreign-produced marijuana available in the United States, much of the foreign marijuana transported to and available in the United States is produced in Mexico and Canada.

Despite continuing increases in the amount of cannabis produced domestically, much of the marijuana available within the United States is foreign produced. The two primary foreign source areas for marijuana distributed within the United States are Canada and Mexico. Mexico remains the primary foreign source for commercial-grade marijuana in the United States; approximately 15,800 metric tons of marijuana were potentially produced in Mexico in 2007, according to the latest data available from the Central Intelligence Agency Crime and Narcotics Center (CNC). Annual Mexican consumption is estimated at 100 to 500 metric tons; 13 consequently, law enforcement officials believe that the majority of the marijuana that Mexico produces is bound for U.S. markets. The government of Mexico (GOM) reports that cultivation and eradication activities are concentrated in 9 states: Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacбn, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Sonora, and Durango. Guerrero, Nayarit, and Michoacбn are the primary growing areas in Mexico.

Canada is a much lesser, albeit significant, source of marijuana–particularly high-grade marijuana–to U.S. drug markets. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), annual Canadian marijuana production is estimated at between 1,399 and 3,498 metric tons; cultivation activities are most predominant in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, where approximately 90 percent of the marijuana is produced. RCMP also reports that approximately 1,749,057 plants were seized by law enforcement agencies in 2006–the most recent year for which these data are available.


Mexican DTOs have relocated many of their outdoor cannabis cultivation operations in Mexico from traditional growing areas to more remote locations in central and northern Mexico, primarily to reduce the risk of eradication and gain easier access to U.S. drug markets. According to CNC, Mexican DTOs have relocated many of their cannabis-growing operations from traditional growing areas in the states of Guerrero, Nayarit, and Michoacбn to remote mountain areas of Durango, Sinaloa, and Sonora in central and northern Mexico. CNC reports that the relocation is most likely the result of sustained high levels of detection and eradication in traditional growing areas as well as a desire on the part of the DTOs to reduce transportation costs to the Southwest Border and gain more direct access to drug markets throughout the United States.


Cannabis cultivation in Canada occurs predominantly in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec; RCMP estimates that 90 percent of the marijuana produced in Canada is produced from cannabis cultivated in these three provinces. Additionally, cannabis cultivation appears to be increasing in Ontario and Quebec, primarily due to increased law enforcement pressure in and displacement of DTOs and criminal groups from British Columbia. Despite regional changes in cultivation in Canada, marijuana production continues at a relatively high rate, according to law enforcement and intelligence reporting, as well as eradication data. Annual eradication totals for Canada are not available; however, RCMP reports that a total of 806,616 plants and 384 kilograms of marijuana were seized between 2004 and 2008 by the RCMP, Canadian Forces, and local enforcement as part of Operation SABOT–a national interagency effort aimed at eradicating outdoor cannabis cultivation sites.

Asian criminal groups are the primary producers of high-potency marijuana in Canada. Organized criminal groups, particularly Asian, but also Italian organized crime and outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs), engage in marijuana production in Canada, largely because of the lucrative market for high-potency marijuana–particularly BC Bud. 14 According to RCMP, Asian criminal groups and OMGs are the primary traffickers of marijuana produced in Canada; however, Asian criminal groups–especially those of Chinese and Vietnamese descent–are predominant because of their advanced growing techniques for high-potency marijuana. The RCMP reports that the involvement of Asian criminal groups in technologically advanced indoor grow sites enables the groups to produce marijuana with high THC levels. In fact, the average THC content for marijuana grown in Canada was 10.25 percent in 2006, the latest year for which data were available. Law enforcement reporting indicates that these groups are using the large profits from high-grade marijuana sales to finance other illicit activities, including firearms and cocaine trafficking from the United States.


13. International Narcotics Strategy Control Report 2007.
14. BC Bud, which originally referred to sinsemilla grown in British Columbia, has become synonymous with high-grade marijuana from Canada. The THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) content of BC Bud ranges from an average of 10 to 15 percent but can be as high as 30 percent.

Where does most weed come from National Drug Intelligence Center Domestic Cannabis Cultivation Assessment 2009 July 2009 UNCLASSIFIED Primary Foreign Source Countries for Marijuana