It’s known as dope, grass, herb, maal et al but the most common name for dried buds of the cannabis plant, is marijuana.
Today “cannabis” and “marijuana” have pretty much been used interchangeably for the longest time but people have only recently woken up to the fact that marijuna has racist connotations. Yes, you heard that right. The M word is actually an offensive term. Intrigued? Read on to find out how.
While upper class families have been smoking Cannabis since the 1800s, the term “marijuana” got a racist stigma attached to it in the 1900s. It was first used by racist politicians who criminalized cannabis because they wanted to stress on the fact that it was a vice used by people of color.
Due to the influx of immigrants around that time, many white Americans began to treat cannabis as a foreign substance. Something that corrupted the minds and bodies of low-class / colored individuals. They would refer to Hispanics, the black community and other POC using the M word, to ridicule them for their ‘devilish ways’. Yes, the exotic-sounding ‘M’ word emphasized the drug’s foreignness to white Americans and appealed to their xenophobia.
The use of the term, in a racist context, increased drastically in the 1930s, when it was used by Harry Anslinger, the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who waged a three-decade long campaign against cannabis.
While we’re on the subject of Marijuana, here’s a little informational video:
We need to stop saying “marijuana” and now you know why.