Lawmakers: The Word “Marijuana” Needs To Be Replaced, Calling Term Racist

“Pot,” “weed,” “grass,” “Mary Jane,” “flower” — there is no shortage of terms to describe cannabis. However, Washington state is taking one word officially off the table: “marijuana.” Supporters say the word “marijuana” has a long history of racism. Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill that passed unanimously into law March 11. The changes will take effect in June.

The Story Behind It

“As recreational marijuana use became more popular, it was negatively associated with Mexican immigrants,” Morgan said. Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill that passed unanimously into law March 11. The changes will take effect in June. “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.



Joy Hollingsworth owns Hollingsworth Cannabis Company with her family. The family business includes a pot farm in Shelton. They also run a hemp side, called Hollingsworth Hemp Company, which produces a line of non-THC hemp products, like candles and lotions.

She says for people of color in the industry, 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. Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (which later became the Drug Enforcement Administration) played a big role in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which banned selling or possessing weed.