Do you cringe when you hear people say Pot or Weed when referring to the plant cannabis sativa or Indica? This has been an ongoing debate for years since legalization, but the term marijuana has its own racist undertones. Read this blog so when you are with your friends at the beach, you can say the right thing and order from Ack Natural right on your phone.
Many advocates argue that the term “marijuana” is problematic due to its racist origins and negative connotations
The History of the Term “Marijuana“
The use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes dates back thousands of years. However, the term “marijuana” is a relatively recent addition to the cannabis lexicon. It first became popularized in the United States in the early 20th century.
The term “marijuana” is derived from the Spanish word “marihuana,” which was used by Mexican immigrants in the early 1900s to refer to the plant. At the time, cannabis was relatively unknown in the United States, and the word “marijuana” was used to associate the drug with Mexican immigrants and portray it as a foreign threat to American society.
In the 1930s, the U.S. government launched a campaign against cannabis, led by Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. As part of this campaign, Anslinger and his supporters used the term “marijuana” to stigmatize the drug and associate it with racial stereotypes of Mexicans and African Americans.
The Racist Roots of “Marijuana”
The term “marijuana” has its roots in racism, and has been linked to discriminatory policies and practices. In the 1930s, Anslinger and other anti-cannabis advocates used racist language and stereotypes to associate the drug with non-white communities and demonize it in the eyes of the public.
Anslinger’s campaign against cannabis was part of a broader effort to crack down on perceived social deviance and maintain the status quo of white supremacy. By portraying cannabis as a threat to American society, Anslinger and his supporters were able to justify harsh laws and penalties that disproportionately targeted people of color.
The Preferred Terminology Today
Cannabis: This is the scientific name for the plant, and many advocates argue that it is a neutral and non-stigmatizing term.
Weed: This term is often used informally and has become more mainstream in recent years. Some advocates argue that it can be a more inclusive term that avoids the negative connotations of “marijuana.”
Overall, the debate over the proper terminology to use for cannabis reflects larger societal conversations around language, identity, and power. While the term “marijuana” has a problematic history and is associated with racist policies and practices, many advocates are working to promote alternative language that is more inclusive and respectful of the diverse communities that use cannabis today.