The story of the illegality of the reef is actually very interesting. In a nutshell, it goes like this:
1. Prior to the early thirties, it was not only legal but grown all over the country like any other crop. It was mostly grown for the fibers, which are incredibly durable and useful and were used to make all the rigging on sailing vessels. George Washington himself said "make the best use of the hempseed; sow it everywhere".
2. In the thirties, someone came up with a way to make hemp paper, a product which threatened the lucrative livelihood of Willam Randolph Hurst -- a media mogule who owned paper mills everywhere and large chunks of forest -- and the Dupont corporation who had also come up with more refined ways to treat wood pulp, making better paper.
3. Hurst, owning most of the media at the time, was in prime position to launch an incredible smear campaigne against mary jane, including such films as "Reefer Madness". Marijuana was implicated in any car accident, shooting, etc. in the papers, whether the drug was present at the scene or not. If it was, its role was trumped up and the presence of empty liquor bottles and the like was ignored. The public, not being so bright (look at who they elect) was easily swayed against the ganja.
4. Pot is criminalized.
5. WWII starts later that decade. As our nation moves toward war, farmers are once again encouraged to grow the plant. We need the fibers to take out the axis.
6. WWII ends, pot illegal again.
7. The current bullshit and tyranny that has reined for the last sixty+ years.
And that's the story of why you need to be "extra" paranoid when you're just trying to have a good time and spread some love.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy