Maybe they can call it the “Don’t Say Marijuana” law.
Last month, the state of Washington — certainly not a place where there’s any shortage of users of the psychoactive plant Cannabis sativa — decided to do away with the word “marijuana” from all of its laws, according to KIRO-TV.
Because the word is “pejorative and racist,” lawmakers say, it will be replaced.
(At The Western Journal, we’ve chronicled how marijuana legalization — whatever you want to call the drug — has led to poor outcomes, both in terms of public and mental health. The mainstream media, however, isn’t willing to bring you the facts about what cannabis use does. We’ll continue to bring America the truth, no matter how unpopular it may be. You can help us by subscribing.)
Yes, Washington state may have a massive homelessness problem, particularly in Seattle. It may be unaffordable and obnoxiously woke. But, at least it doesn’t have the word “marijuana” besmirching any of the laws on its books.
According to KIRO, legislators passed a bill that would change every reference to it in the Revised Code of Washington to “cannabis.”
“The term ‘marijuana’ itself is pejorative and racist,” said Washington state Democrat Rep. Melanie Morgan, the bill’s sponsor, during 2021 testimony.
Really, now? Yes, true story — apparently, Morgan said, because “marijuana” is a word of Spanish origin.
“As recreational marijuana use became more popular, it was negatively associated with Mexican immigrants,” she said.
This is silly logic, but Morgan’s House Bill 1210, which excised word “marijuana” from state code, passed unanimously. It was signed into law by Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee on March 11.
“Even though it seems simple because it’s just one word, the reality is we’re healing the wrongs that were committed against black and brown people around cannabis,” Morgan said.
And here I would have thought the drug-word jihad would have been declared against “crack” — a term which is often accused of having racial undertones behind it. But, nope, “marijuana” it is.
To burnish this logic, Morgan quoted the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, during her testimony. Anslinger was key in getting the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 passed, a law that banned the possession or sale of the drug.
“It was … Anslinger that said and I quote, ‘Marijuana is the most violent causing drug in the history of mankind. And most marijuana users are Negroes, Hispanic, Caribbean, and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing results from marijuana usage,’” Morgan said.
All this means, however, is that Harry Anslinger sounds like a racist jerk in 2022. This does little to heal any damage the word “marijuana” caused minorities. What it does do, however, is assure progressives they’re doing something by changing “marijuana” to “cannabis.”
Of course, if those who advocate the prohibition of the drug start being good little linguistic sheep and start referring to it only as “cannabis,” in another decade or two another Melanie Morgan — or, heck, perhaps Morgan herself, should she hang around state politics long enough — will come along and say the word has become polluted and the laws should be changed to something even more neutral in the name of equity. “THC-carrying plant-based enlightenment-enhancing substance,” say.
Meanwhile, a marijuana entrepreneur named Joy Hollingsworth talked to KIRO about how “the word ‘marijuana’ comes with a burden.”
“It had been talked about for a long time in our community about how that word demonizes the cannabis plant,” Hollingsworth said.
I’d like to point out that Washington is the state that ran a so-called “Joints for Jabs” program last year in which individuals could receive a free joint of marijuana if they received a COVID-19 vaccine “at an in-store vaccination clinic.”
The implication behind such a program is that marijuana users could be bribed to take a freely available (and free) medical treatment they either didn’t want to take or hadn’t yet decided to avail themselves of simply by giving them a joint. The implicit statement the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis board was making about the self-control of potheads by that gesture is far more “demonizing” than the word “marijuana” — a term used in some way by most Americans, almost always without any degree of racial judgment, to refer to the drug.
But thank heavens: By changing one word in the state code, state Rep. Melanie Morgan, Gov. Jay Inslee and the legislators of Washington have fixed a problem they didn’t have. Imagine what they could accomplish if they focused on all the problems Washington is faced with.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.