Today is April 20, a holiday that celebrates smoking weed. If you're planning on celebrating the holiday, insiders want you to stop calling it “marijuana”—and the reason is deeper than most would realize.
“Any term applied to cannabis other than cannabis is negligent and abusive behavior that we abhor,” said Daniel Maida Hayden of Extractioneering.com, an Oregon-based brand told HuffPo.
“The term marijuana is a Mexican slur. Although it is tolerated when combined with the word medical for specific purposes (medical marijuana), “ he continued.
Adrian Sedlin of Canndescent, a California-based company, believes that “cannabis” is the best term.
“Marijuana has a history interlaced with racism; cannabis is about harmony and acceptance,” Sedlin said.
Sedlin is also not the biggest fan of the terms weed and pot, although people still use them.
“Weeds can be ugly and destructive,” said Sedlin. “Pot is short for ‘potación de guaya,’ an alcoholic beverage that means ‘drink of grief.’”
According to Merriam Webster, the history and etymology of “marijuana” stemmed from Mexican Spanish and described a “psychoactive dried resinous flower buds” and leaves of the female hemp or cannabis plant.
The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) in a press release also pointed out that the term ended up receiving the negative connotation when it was penalized in numerous states as it was “ portrayed as a cultural vice of Mexican immigrants to the United States, and racist and xenophobic politicians and government officials used cannabis prohibition specifically to target and criminalize Mexican-American culture and incarcerate Mexican-Americans and, therefore, the prohibition of cannabis is fundamentally rooted in discrimination against Hispanics...”
Kenneth Romero-Cruz of the NHCSL also told HuffPost that the criminalization of cannabis “has disproportionately affected Latinos and other people of color.” Latinos make up less than 20 per cent of the United States population, but in 2016, they received 77 per cent of the cannabis sentences.
With this brief history lesson, you may be still wondering the following: What are words for the green flower are acceptable to use? Which terms aren’t? Check out the list below. You may recognize some.
Terms to avoid
The Devil’s Lettuce
Some terms still stick around because of the sense of nostalgia they bring, but the word many of the insiders are agreeing upon is “cannabis.”
The origin of the 4/20 holiday reportedly stems from high school students in the ‘70s, who used 420 as a secret code word to signal after-school smoke sessions. To this day, some people will smoke cannabis at 4.20pm on a given day.