For many years now, pondering minds have questioned the thought of having marijuana, or cannabis sativa, listed as another medicinal drug. Some say that marijuana can not be used as a medicine and that there is no evidence of its medicinal purpose; But on the other hand, there are those who think differently and pose marijuana as a potential use in today's modern world. In any case, marijuana is useful in the medical field and should be legalized for that purpose.
Cultivated for at least 5,000 years and serving as one of the oldest crops not grown for food, the marijuana plant began its life in China where the tissues of the hemp stalk were used to weave clothing, rope, and paper; seeds were pressed to make oil for paints and varnish; and dried seeds were used as food for canaries and other songbirds. Cultivation of the crop began thousands of years ago in China where the people had little regard for the psycho-active side effects of the plant (Richardson 41). During the seventeenth century, the English navy had a huge demand for hemp rope, since it was stronger than the rope of other materials, and ordered the colonists of Virginia and Maryland to grow it in order to fulfill this demand. Pilgrims used the plant's fibers to make clothing and rope as well, and the cultivation of the crop helped to boost the local shipbuilding industry. During the American Revolution when imports were no longer given to the colonies, the hemp fiber became an essential material in their production of clothing (Richardson 41). Even George Washington grew it on his plantation as he has mentioned in his diary. There is no evidence of the people of the colonies eating or smoking the plant due to the fact that those cool climates lessened the psycho-active material (Stwertka 16). Thomas Jefferson also grew the crop, and the Declaration of Independence was even written on hemp paper. This plant was also widely used to make sails and rigging for ships.