The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board adopted a motion to implement 2022 legislation that replaces the word “marijuana” with “cannabis” in all state laws, reported Big Country News.
Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill into law in March. With the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board’s adoption, the new rules are expected to take effect on August 6.
The measure refers to the racist origins of the Spanish word for weed as utilized by Harry Anslinger, who was the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics that later became the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and played a key role in pushing Congress to pass the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that forbade selling and possessing cannabis.
“The term ‘marijuana’ itself is pejorative and racist,” Democratic state Rep. Melanie Morgan said during 2021 testimony on House Bill 1210, which she sponsored, according to local CBS affiliate KIRO 7 and reported by Yahoo Finance.
“As recreational marijuana use became more popular, it was negatively associated with Mexican immigrants,” Morgan noted. “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 referred to Anslinger’s comments: “Marijuana is the most violent 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.”
Jeff Kildahl, LCB’s cannabis policy and rules coordinator agreed. “Passing the bill, the Legislature found use of the term ‘marijuana’ in the United States has discriminatory origins and should be replaced with the more scientifically accurate term ‘cannabis.’” Kildahl noted that the word replacement will apply to Title 314 of the Washington Administrative Code.