It’s been claimed that “marijuana” is rooted in racism and we all should avoid using the term.
There are several names for it: grass, hemp, dope, reefer, ganja, happa, pot and weed. But the most common one belongs to “cannabis” and “marijuana.”
Historically, marijuana has been consumed as medication by American elites since the 1840s. It became controversial later in 1900s when millions of Mexicans migrated to the United States, and brought marijuana into the country.
Harry Anslinger, director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962, popularized the term as a propaganda campaign against weed.
“Most marijuana smokers are colored people, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind,” Anslinger is quoted in a 2004 publication on marijuana reform and prohibition.
Harborside dispensary in California’s Oakland, is another who is up against the “M-word.”
“The word “marijuana” or “marihuana” is an emotional, pejorative term that has played a key role in creating the negative stigma that still tragically clings to this holistic, herbal medicine,” Harborside says on its official site. “We prefer to use the word cannabis, because it is a respectful, scientific term that encompasses all the many different uses of the plant.”
Debates go on and on. Of course there are those who think the ban of the term is ridiculous.
“[J]ust because racists used a term for racist purposes that doesn’t make the term racist per se. Language evolves and context matters,” Russ “Radical Russ” Belville, host of talk radio program for the cannabis community wrote online.