Updated: Sep 21, 2021
We all hear it, the term cannabis. But isn’t it called marijuana? Both terms refer to the plant we know well, and both are used often today. If we rewind to the 19th century, only cannabis was primarily used in news reports and medical journals. Many historical accounts say that marijuana came into popular use in the early 20th century when anti-cannabis groups wanted to emphasize the drugs “Mexican-ness”. The use of marijuana to describe the ancient medicinal plant was meant to play off anti-immigrant opinions. Basically, to perpetuate racist propaganda that spread false stories of homicidal mania caused by consumption of the dreaded Mexican “locoweed” by brown people. Fear is a powerful thing. Back in the 19th century, the fear of brown people combined with fear of nightmare drugs used by brown people created a wave of public action against cannabis and marijuana became the popular term.
Let’s fast forward back to today. Why are we still using the term marijuana? Probably because most of us had no clue of its racist origins. Learn more and join the conversation this October! Tune in to Power of the Flower this October as we discuss social equity in cannabis and the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition with Tamara Netzel, Founder and Executive Director of Cruel Consequences: Portraits of Misguided Law.
We all make a choice every time we speak of your favorite herbal plant. Will you honor and respect its real name, cannabis? Or will you continue using marijuana as if its racist origins do not matter? What choice will you make in that conversation cannabis warriors?