After decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level on April 1, the Washington legislature on April 25 removed the word marijuana from state law and replaced it with Cannabis.
Rep. Melanie Morgan (Parkland), who introduced the bill, said, “The term ‘marijuana’ itself is pejorative and racist,'” according to Fox News.
Washington lawmakers recently passed legislation removing the name “marijuana” from all state Codes and Laws renaming it “cannabis.”
Supporters of the change to House Bill 1210 and Morgan gave their stance on the word “marijuana,” emphasizing its long history of racism.
“As the recreational use of marijuana became more popular, it became negatively associated with Mexican immigrants,” Morgan said.
During her testimony, Morgan justified the decision, citing Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who played a crucial role in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that banned the sale and processing of cannabis.
Joy Hollingsworth, who owns Hollingsworth Cannabis Company in Shelton, commented that her mother taught her about the negatives of the word and that she knows the black community was going to prison because of marijuana.
Until the day of its decriminalization, marijuana was federally considered the most widely used illegal drug in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fox News reported.
However, the decriminalization bill passed with a vote of 220 to 204.
Fox News reported that Rep. Cliff Bentz (Ore.) spoke against the decriminalization of marijuana, reflecting on the effects and consequences on children, motorists, and the community’s mental health.
On the other hand, Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa. 17th) said it is elementary to link marijuana with a crime. For that reason, he would have the same sentence as for selling opioids, such as oxycodone, or selling fentanyl or firearms.
Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio 4th) expressed outrage over marijuana legalization and said that issues such as crime, inflation, and illegal immigration should be prioritized.
“Record crime, record inflation, record gas prices, record number of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border—and what are Democrats doing today?” asked Jordan on the floor. “Legalizing drugs, legalizing drugs, and using U.S. tax dollars to jump-start and prop up the marijuana industry. Wow. What a deal for the American people,” Jordan said.
It remains to be seen if changing the word “marijuana” will have any positive impact, such as decreasing crimes under the influence of the drug and thus avoiding prison time.