Ah, the 1970s – back then, we were doing things totally opposite of what we are “allowed” to do in 2020. Back then, we didn’t worry about personal space, while now, space is the only focus. Right now, anxieties about COVID-19 color our day to day lives, especially when it comes to limiting the spread of the virus. Social distancing has become the new normal – you must maintain a six foot distance from strangers, and don’t even think about sharing a hug with a friend you run into in public. Don’t you wish you could go back to a simpler time, like the 70s? It was a time of free love, peace, and relaxation – and a time when cannabis culture was at its peak. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you have any questions about Georgia’s current cannabis laws.
A Dope Time for Cannabis
Ask anyone who grew up in the 1960s or 1970s, and they will tell you that cannabis culture was at an all-time high. Marijuana was commonly smoked by hippies, people who embraced the values of peace, love, and community. Pop culture influences such as The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Hunter S. Thompson, and Cheech & Chong helped create a new perspective on cannabis and helped to shape the history of marijuana as we know it today. Our troops were returning from Vietnam, and they brought new strains of cannabis back home with them, influencing the marijuana market for years to come.
The 1970s were a very different time in many ways, right down to the kind of cannabis that was smoked. Home-grown cannabis was less common, as you needed to be an experienced farmer to grow marijuana plants indoors. Instead, most of the marijuana smoked in the 1970s was imported from overseas, taking well over a month to arrive and often being exposed to high temperatures as it made its way over to the United States. Age and heat exposure caused the level of THC in the imported marijuana to decrease, making the weed of the 70s far less potent than it is today.
Sure, marijuana was not any more legal back then. In the early 70s, the 1952 Boggs act and the 1956 Narcotics Control Act were still in effect, meaning that people caught with cannabis for the first time could lead to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 dollars. But these legal penalties didn’t stop many young people from deciding to light up joints and relax together. It was common to see people smoking cannabis together at events, with groups of friends, or as part of larger gatherings – a kind of closeness that many of us miss badly right now.
You might be surprised to learn that the 1970s also heralded the beginning of medical marijuana research. The exact science behind the effects of cannabis was just beginning to be understood, and a few states began researching the cannabis sativa plant in-depth in order to better understand its medical applications. In 1978, New Mexico passed the first state law recognizing the medical value of marijuana– an important step in what has become a major cause for many Americans today.
The 70s also saw the founding of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws– otherwise known as NORML, a group formed in 1970 to fight against marijuana prohibition. For decades, NORML has coordinated grass-roots efforts to legalize medical marijuana at both local and state levels. It has since developed into one of the best-known decriminalization advocacy groups in America and is still going strong even fifty years later.
Although President Nixon had kicked off the War on Drugs and formed the DEA in 1970, America would not see the full effects of this legislation until the 1980s, due to his resignation four years later. In fact, during the 1970s, United States lawmakers repealed many of the mandatory penalties for drug offenses that had been created in the 50s, since they had done little to curb 70s drug culture. On top of that, several states actually decriminalized marijuana in the 70s. Legalization seemed like a real possibility back then.
The Times, They Are A-Changing
Of course, there’s no way to actually go back to the 1970s. But there’s nothing stopping us from looking back on the gritty greatness of that decade, especially at a time like this, when tensions are running high and we as Americans feel more isolated than ever before. That doesn’t mean you have to lose heart for the future – eventually, a vaccine for COVID-19 will be found, the pandemic will become a thing of the past, and we’ll be able to hang out with our friends just like old times.
Things are looking even brighter for cannabis these days. Medical marijuana has become normalized across the United States, with even Georgia looking to get in on legal dispensaries in the near future. Multiple states are working to legalize or at least decriminalize cannabis use. And of course, it is perfectly legal under Georgia law to grow or even smoke hemp, the cannabis plant’s less potent cousin, as of May 2019. Countrywide decriminalization efforts didn’t quite get off the ground in the 1970s, but perhaps the second time might be a charm. After all, we live in a very different world these days.
But for now, be aware of something that definitely hasn’t changed since the 70s – marijuana is still illegal under Georgia law. While possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in select parts of the state, in most parts of Georgia, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana can lead to a fine of up to $1,000.00 and up to a year of jail. If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, contact the Don Turner Legal Team and see how we can help you fight your charges.