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Alex McMahan is a member of the Maine Hashish Trade Affiliation legislative committee and the CEO and cofounder of The Therapeutic Group MEDCo.
LD 1957 grew to become legislation this week. Whereas it doesn’t change how hashish is tracked, nor does it impression rulemaking, it does sign a shift from a mindset of unlawful “marijuana” gross sales to a authorized hashish market.
After I’ve testified on hashish legal guidelines on behalf of the Maine Cannabis Industry Association and MEDCo, I’ve all the time used the phrase hashish, besides when referring to statutory references comparable to “marijuana merchandise” or “the Maine Medical Marijuana Program.” This has all the time been a fairly intentional alternative of phrases.
The phrase hashish is the scientific identify, or genus, of the hashish plant, and due to this fact the correct phrase. The phrase marijuana is a phrase invented by the US authorities to generate a stigma round hashish.
In keeping with Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase marijuana could have initially come from the Aztecan phrase mallihuan, that means “prisoner.”
The phrase marijuana first appeared in literature in an 1873 e book titled “The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America” and initially referred to a kind of tobacco utilized by what the e book refers to because the “wild tribes of Mexico.”
It wasn’t till the Thirties that the usage of the phrase marijuana grew to become widespread. It’s typically accepted that the phrase was chosen by opponents of the hashish plant as a method to make the plant sound international and scary. This after all was the start of practically a century of stigmatization, led by Harry Anslinger, head of the model new Federal Bureau of Narcotics (a precursor to the Drug Enforcement Administration). Anslinger was a recognized racist and propagandist, saying such horrible and inaccurate issues as, “marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death,” a single marijuana cigarette might induce a “homicidal mania,” and referring to minorities as “degenerate races.” Many states succumbed to the widespread disinformation marketing campaign initiated by these terrible opponents of hashish and commenced passing legal guidelines prohibiting hashish.
This disinformation marketing campaign was carried on till very not too long ago in American historical past. President Richard Nixon’s home coverage chief, John Ehrlichman, was famously quoted as saying in an interview, “You wish to know what this was actually all about? The Nixon marketing campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White Home after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black individuals. You perceive what I’m saying?” Ehlichman told journalist Dan Baum in 1994. “We knew we couldn’t make it unlawful to be both towards the conflict or black, however by getting the general public to affiliate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, after which criminalizing each closely, we might disrupt these communities. We might arrest their leaders, raid their houses, break up their conferences, and vilify them evening after evening on the night information. Did we all know we had been mendacity in regards to the medication? In fact we did.”
The phrase marijuana formally grew to become a chunk of federal legislation with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which successfully made hashish unlawful in the US. This lasted till 1969 when the Supreme Court docket dominated the act to be unconstitutional, just for hashish to be prohibited once more in 1970 by the passage of the Controlled Substances Act.
To no shock, racism has been evident within the enforcement of those legal guidelines. Not solely is the phrase marijuana proof of racism, most of the costs connected to drug legislation offenders at this time are additionally proof of racism. In keeping with analysis carried out by the ACLU, enforcement of marijuana legal guidelines demonstrates clear racial bias. The ACLU research finds that whereas “marijuana use is roughly equal amongst Blacks and whites, but Blacks are 3.73 instances as more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.”
Maine was the fifth state within the nation to legalize medical cannabis marking the start of the top of the unethical drug conflict. The State of Maine continues to set a optimistic instance for the nation by transitioning from the phrase popularized to create a stigma to the correct, scientific identify. With our fashionable understanding of the racist motives of the drug conflict, there isn’t any purpose to proceed to vilify customers of psychoactive compounds, or these individuals who have been caught with such compounds prior to now.
The current enactment of LD 1957 scrubs these atrocious relics of racism from our legislation books, proof that the solar nonetheless rises first in our nice State of Maine.