One hundred United States Senators received letters this week from the publisher of the American Cannabis Report demanding that they immediately stop using the racist word 'marijuana' in the US Senate and its documents.
Publisher Christopher Smith states, “using the word ‘marijuana’ is an egregious wrong that has been perpetuated for almost a century, yet has become so subtly embedded in the American lexicon that many are not aware of its sinister background."
Long before cannabis was legalized as a medicinal treatment in 29 states and the District of Columbia, the plant played an important role in American history. In the 1700's it was grown by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson when Virginia and other states required farmers to grow it. Drafts of the Declaration of Independence were likely written on hemp paper. Until the 1930's it was a staple component in textiles, rope fiber, and paper products, and was widely used by major pharmaceutical companies in their medicines.
Then in 1937, an anti-drug crusader introduced a Latin-sounding name - 'marijuana' - to the US Congress. In documents he added an ‘h’ in the middle forcing an extra-exotic enunciation. The Spanish-sounding term was intentionally chosen to reinforce fear in legislators and anger in everyday Americans by linking the plant to the large influx of Mexicans at the time.
The prejudiced word ‘marijuana’ was spread by a vast propaganda campaign supported by industrialists whose business interests conflicted with cannabis. The word ‘marihuana’ and its racist taint have stuck for 80 years. Most shockingly, its purposeful mis-spelling continues in Federal Government documents.
Now, with legalization replacing the black market, and over 90% of Americans supporting legalization for medicinal use, it's time for our elected representatives to eradicate this racist word in our highest legislative bodies.
It's time for US Senators to speak the truth and finally call it "Cannabis".