How The Term ‘Marijuana’ Is Rooted In Racism

The word ‘marijuana’ is rooted in racism — here’s why you should say ‘cannabis’ instead.

Apparently, we need to stop saying “marijuana” and this is why. The phrase actually has racist roots, and was used to knock on people of color for their “devilish ways.” While the word itself isn’t inherently racist, it was used derogatorily by American prohibitionists. So, when you used the word, you’re ignoring a long history of oppression.

Weed has been consumed by the American elite since the 1840s, it was apparently even sold over the counter as medication to treat plenty of different ailments. The stuff didn’t become controversial until the 1900s when millions of Mexicans migrated to the U.S. following the Mexican revolution.

With them, they brought “marijuana,” which was a phrase popularized by Harry Anslinger, who was the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962. He believed that marijuana influenced darker skin people to commit murder and other violent crimes. So, he launched a vicious propaganda campaign against marijuana, associating it with “inferior” races and social deviants.

This prompted Congress to pass the Marijuana Tax Act, which made the drug illegal at a federal level. Since then it has become associated with criminal activity and is only just now starting to recover from Anslinger’s campaign. So keep in mind its history the next time you use the word — it has a lot of negativity behind it.

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