Cannabis News: Keeping Up with Marijuana News of the Past, Present, and Future

Just half a century ago, the country was in the midst of the “reefer madness” craze, thinking that marijuana caused people to become violent psychopaths. But just a few decades later, cannabis was a regular part of pop culture music, movies, and literature.

In the late 80s and early 90s, the United States was passing harsher sentencing laws for drug users. However, by the mid-90s states like California were beginning to institute medical cannabis programs.

The point is this: the culture, politics, and economics of marijuana move incredibly fast. And they are only moving faster as time goes on.

This leaves many people wondering how they can stay on top of the latest cannabis news. How can a user make sure they know the marijuana laws in the state their visiting?

How can a doctor stay informed about the newest cannabis medical advances, and an investor keep up with the marijuana stocks? That’s what we are here to discuss, the best and easiest ways to stay informed about the recreational and medical marijuana industries.

The History of Cannabis News

In order to understand the present, we have to look at the past. The marijuana industry’s unique place in American news media can be traced back to its earliest roots in the 19th century.

Early Examples of Cannabis in Media

Siberian burial grounds from 3000 BC, the tombs of ancient Chinese nobles, and early Sanskrit poems from India all have one thing in common: they tell stories about recreational and medical marijuana use.

About 4,000 years ago, Marijuana began to spread from its origins in the Asian steppes. It went to the middle east, to Europe, to India, Africa, and Europe. In each place, it became a revered plant. The earliest examples of cannabis “news” can be found inscribed into walls, written into holy texts, and placed as offerings to the gods at burial sites.

Cannabis made its way to the Americas with colonization in the 1600s. Like it had everywhere else, hemp and marijuana quickly became important for textile and rope construction, as well as medical and recreational smoking.

It was not until the early 1900s that cannabis became associated with negative traits.

A large influence on the image of marijuana in the United States came from one man, named Harry Anslinger. He had been employed to run down alcohol distributors during prohibition, but once alcohol was legal again, he turned his sights elsewhere.

Anslinger began a public campaign to conflate marijuana use with criminal acts, violence, and depravity. Using racist imagery, he conjured up a specter of “reefer madness” that led to a series of laws that made marijuana illegal to grow, sell, and possess in the U.S.

Prohibition Era

Cannabis News

Throughout much of the 1900s marijuana’s image in the media continued to be the one made up by Harry Anslinger. Marijuana was considered a dangerous and highly addictive drug, akin to heroin or cocaine.

One promotional poster for the 1942 film ‘Devil’s Harvest” shows a woman lighting a marijuana cigarette with the text, “A good girl until she lights a ‘reefer’” and “The Smoke of Hell.”

Another example of this sort of anti-marijuana propaganda can be seen in a public service announcement from the 1950s called, “Marty Is Troubled.” In the video, a boy named Marty smokes marijuana and then, laughing maniacally, goes on to break a bottle of soda and swallow the glass.

It is not until the 1960s when we see a more positive image of marijuana make itself into the mainstream media.

Major pop-music acts like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin made alternative, weed-smoking culture part of the mainstream. Despite some backlash, like this magazine article from Time, marijuana continued to gain popular appeal.

Cannabis News in the Era of Legal Weed

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana use. Although the law more limited than many that would come, it was a watershed moment in the history of the cannabis industry.

A timeline of marijuana legalization in the United States shows how quickly other states got on board. Within two decades, 28 states had legalized either medical or recreational marijuana use.

Now, with conservative states like Utah passing medical marijuana laws, it seems as though countrywide legalization is inevitable. With this newfound acceptance, the media’s portrayal of marijuana has certainly shifted.

There are now dozens of media outlets that are almost exclusively devoted to cannabis news.

This includes magazines, websites, Youtube channels, and even cannabis-related television shows. In this transformed cannabis media landscape, there’s more good reporting to check out, and also more bad reporting.

So, how do you know where to go to get your cannabis news?

Best Sites for Cannabis News Today

Cannabis News

With so much cannabis-related news coming down the pike, and so much random content on the internet, how can you be sure you’re getting the most up-to-date and relevant information out there?

You can start by checking out these five cannabis news companies. They each have something unique to offer the cannabis news world, and you can decide which ones are right for you.


Leafly began as a website devoted to cannabis education. Its goal was to review as many marijuana strains as possible so that people could know what to smoke. That was back in 2010, and since then the company has exploded into a marijuana media empire.

Leafly has a traditional news section of their website with insightful and timely articles. But they’ve also launched Leafly TV, with all kinds of educational content about marijuana varieties, growing, baking, and advocacy.

If you are looking for a truly all-around marijuana news source with the top of the line reporting and a database of marijuana reviews to back it all up, check out Leafly!

The Cannabist

What if a traditional news company began to devote staff, resources, and entire office to covering only marijuana-related news? That was the question that the Denver Post was asking itself in 2013 when it decided to launch The Cannabist.

Though The Cannabist has seen its fair share of trials and tribulations, it has survived the precarious media landscape to be one of the most reliable and recognizable cannabis news sites around.

The fact that The Cannabist was begun by a traditional news company is evident in its well-researched, well-written articles. It could be considered the “paper of record” for the cannabis industry if you’d like.

High Times

If you went into any college student’s living room in the mid-2000s, you were pretty likely to find a few copies of High Times lying around somewhere.

With its particular mix of traditional news, marijuana advocacy, and pop culture design, High Times has become the most recognizable name in cannabis-related news.

Begun all the way back in 1974, High Times was originally meant as a sort of joke. It was meant to resemble Playboy magazine, with a centerfold shot of a marijuana bud, instead of a woman. But the joke was taken seriously by weed aficionados, and so the creators just kept on printing the magazine in their underground press.

By 2014 High Times was getting up to 5 million hits on its website every single month. With that kind of volume, High Times can really produce some great content.

Although they are still geared to the hardcore ‘pothead’ part of the marijuana industry (rather than the hemp or medicinal side), they produce entertaining, interesting, and informative content that anyone can enjoy.

420 Intel

While 420 Intel may not be the flashiest site in this bunch, they do some great reporting about the cannabis industry. This site focuses heavily on breaking news related to cannabis stocks, science, and products. It’s cannabis business owner’s news site.

420 Intel won’t be for everyone. They have relatively little cultural content like High Times, and their articles aren’t as well written as those in The Cannabist or Leafy.

However, their newsletter is essential for those who want to stay ahead of the game in the quick-moving cannabis industry.

Hemp Industry Daily

While much of the boom in the cannabis news industry has focused on recreational and medical use of marijuana, there’s also been a renewed interest in marijuana non-psychoactive sister, the hemp plant.

Hemp is being grown in the United States in large amounts for the first time since the 19th century and is being made into products like clothing, rope, CBD medicines, and foods.

If you’re looking to learn more about the cutting edge of the hemp industry, then Hemp Industry Daily is the place to go. This publication features well-written content about everything hemp.

Cannabis News to Look for in 2019

With all of this focus on the cannabis news industry, you might be wondering what some of the big, upcoming stories are. While there are far too many cutting-edge developments in cannabis research, politics, and culture to list them all, here are some of the stories to look for in 2019.

New states will be jumping into the ring of marijuana legalization.

These states include unconventional players like Utah, New Jersey, and Illinois. The enormous South By Southwest music festival will be featuring a ton of panels on marijuana, hemp, and everything cannabis related. And marijuana stocks may be on the rise worldwide.

Don’t Snooze on the Latest Cannabis News

Cannabis has come a long way from its humble origins as a weed in Asia. It’s now the center of multiple, global industries. There’s so much news to keep track of these days, that it can be easy to just give up on cannabis media altogether.

But, if you just stick to the tried-and-true news sources listed in this article, they won’t steer you wrong!

Farma Health Desk Editor