The word marijuana has a rotten history.
Weed, pot, ganja, bud, herb, grass, green, dank, Cali, Dutchie, hippie lettuce, Mary Jane. That sticky-icky-icky herb goes by many different names, but the most common is of course, “marijuana.” Why is that, when the plant’s official Latin name is actually “cannabis?”
In a recent article in The Stranger, Tobias Coughlin-Bogue breaks down the complicated and troubling reasons. The article, titled “The Word ‘Marijuana’ Versus the Word ‘Cannabis,'” explains how the term marijuana began to circulate widely after Harry Anslinger—first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who famously launched the war on drugs—shamed the herb publically. The year was 1937, and racist stereotypes about Mexican immigrants abounded (how far we’ve come). Thus, Anslinger used the Mexican term for the plant in his speech in front of a congressional panel to push his pot prohibition bill.
“We seem to have adopted the Mexican terminology, and we call it marihuana,” he said.
– Read the entire article at Alternet.