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And Today Is…

August 2 marks the 70th anniversary of the passage of the Marihuana [sic] Tax Act of 1937, which, while not explicitly banning the drug, did effectively render it illegal by assigning a tax to “[e]very person who imports, manufactures, produces, compounds, sells, deals in, dispenses, prescribes, administers, or gives away marihuana.” While the tax itself ($1 a year) wasn’t bad, the penalties for any procedural violations were steep (five years in jail or a $2,000 fine), causing most sellers to abandon the business. The 1937 Act, which was found unconstitutional in 1969, was later repealed by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, signed by Richard Nixon in 1970.