Lawmakers in Washington recently passed a law to change every instance of the word "marijuana" in various parts of the Revised Code of Washington, replacing the word with the term "cannabis" citing the racist roots of the word "marijuana."
As KIRO reported, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law on March 11 and the changes will officially go into place in June.
Washington state Rep. Melanie Morgan gave testimony explaining the word's racist past saying, “as recreational marijuana use became more popular, it was negatively associated with Mexican immigrants,” Morgan said.
“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,” she said.
Joy Hollingsworth, a cannabis industry business owner in Washington said, “It had been talked about for a long time in our community about how that word demonizes the cannabis plant,” Hollingsworth said.
Harry Anslinger was the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the agency that later became the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Morgan said during testimony, “It was … Anslinger that said and I quote, ‘Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind. And most marijuana users are Negroes, Hispanic, Caribbean, and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana usage.’” she said.