Lawmakers Remove Word “Marijuana” From State Laws

( In early March, the Washington State Legislature unanimously passed a bill to replace the word “marijuana” with “cannabis” in all state laws.

Why the change in semantics? Because of the so-called racist roots of the Spanish word from which “marijuana” is derived.

During testimony last year, the bill’s sponsor, Democrat State Rep. Melanie Morgan claimed that “marijuana” is “pejorative and racist,” and suggested that the word is “negatively associated with Mexican immigrants.”

To prove her point, during her testimony, Morgan reached back 85 years to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

She read remarks from the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, who was instrumental in getting the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act passed. Anslinger described marijuana as “the most violent-causing drug in the history of mankind.” Anslinger said 85 years ago that most marijuana users were “Negroes, Hispanic, Caribbean, and entertainers.” He also claimed marijuana usage was linked to jazz and swing music.

So because some guy made these remarks 85 years ago, Melanie Morgan believes it is vital for the State of Washington to pass a law replacing “marijuana” with “cannabis” in state laws?

Why, yes. She does. She also believes that by changing every mention of “marijuana” in state laws to “cannabis,” Washington State will be taking a big step toward “healing the wrongs that were committed against black and brown people around cannabis.”

And Morgan’s colleagues all agreed. On March 11, the legislature unanimously passed this silly semantic sleight-of-hand, and Governor Jay Inslee quickly signed it into law.

The big semantic switcheroo will take place in June.