Marijuana has long suffered defamation and image assassination. Especially in the United States, the plant has previously been portrayed as a gateway drug.
A gateway drug is a drug which supposedly leads the user on to more addictive or dangerous drugs.
People were made to believe this through concerted efforts by the United States government and its federal agencies, as well as religious bodies. The main goal was to demonize the plant to discourage people from using it.
Between 1936 and 1939, a drama film titled Reefer Madness was released by church groups to warn parents of so-called dangers of allowing their children to use marijuana.