After the Spanish conquest in 1521, the Spaniards recorded that the Aztecs (Mayans) used marijuana. The present day Cuna Indians of Panama use marijuana as a sacred herb and the Cora Indians of the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico smoke marijuana in sacred ceremonies. In south central Africa, marijuana is held to be sacred and is connected with many religious and social customs as well.
Marijuana is regarded by some sects as a magic plant possessing universal protection against all injury to life, and is symbolic of peace and friendship. In many parts of East Africa, especially near Lake Victoria, hemp smoking and hashish snuffing cults still exist today. The name "cannabis" is generally thought to be of Scythian origin.
In recent news, last month, Massachusetts joined 17 other states in legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, which was acting on a large body of evidence that stated that marijuana is useful in treating a wide range of illnesses. In the past, the DEA has rejected a series of petitions seeking to have marijuana reclassified. The latest DEA rejection is now being challenged in federal court.