I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I hate being forced to use the word ‘cannabis’.
If you have absolutely no f-ing idea what I’m talking about, I will quickly explain.
I have been a advocate to legalize marijuana for over 20 years. I have done my part in Georgia. My other company, Halcyon Organics, was providing medical cannabis products to sick Georgians long before it was legal. We did this openly, working with The Georgia Department of Public Health, verifying Low-THC Cards, and employed lobbyists at the Georgia State Capitol. When I started Halcyon Organics, I was doing a lot of media and public speaking appearances. I also got to know Georgia’s cannabis advocates. I got to meet some very cool people. Some of them were out there. Some have been advocating for Marijuana Legalization for longer than I’ve been alive – Shout out to Sharon “Mamajuana” Ravert! RIP James Bell. We miss you, Jimmy B!
I started Halcyon Organics in 2012 and the cannabis legalization movement was nothing compared to what it is now. Public opinion for full legalization was lower. No one knew what a “CBD oil” was. Most people in Georgia would wink and ask if you were hungry when you mentioned ‘medical marijuana.’
When dealing with something as asinine as marijuana prohibition politics in the South, you are going to have to reason with some of the stubbornest, most ignorant, and arrogant baby boomer white men on Earth. Yall know the dickheads that I’m talking about. They always wear button down shirts tucked so tight into their khaki slacks that it accents their giant gut. A giant gut that they proudly waddle around with because of how many dinners at Little Alley Steak House it took to grow it. Textbook DSM narcissistic personality disorders. They usually have high net worth. They already know everything they need to know it in life and they don’t need to learn anything else. They are too important to adapt and the world just needs to get over itself with all this changing. Published Harvard Author, Chadwick Hagan, refers to them as “Screwballs” in an upcoming book with the same name.
Semantics are soooo important when you’re dealing with these guys, and stupid people in general.
This is where we get to my beef about being forced to use the word “Cannabis” instead of marijuana, weed, greens, trees, pot, gas, loud, chronic, dro, headies, buds, presidential or herb. I don’t like calling weed ‘dope’ because I have always associated dope with heroin and would never want any confusion there.
All those fun slang terms are actually referring to the same plant – cannabis.
The first generation of ‘legalize it’ advocates called cannabis “Marijuana.” Think of NORML – The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. This organization was set up in like the 60s or 70s, so it’s super old school. That name would never fly today because ‘marijuana’ is kinda a naughty word in the legalization advocate world.
This is all because of semantics.
If you look at antique medical cannabis bottles, they are referred to it as “Cannabis.” However, when the US Government and the corporate lobbyists began the campaign to make cannabis illegal in the 1930s, they needed a plan to get public support. Part of their plan was to rebrand cannabis as “Marijuana” because “marijuana’ was a mexican slang word for it. With a 2021 brain, you make think to yourself, “Why is calling something a Spanish word bad? It may make it more desirable because it’s imported or something.” Well think about what the United States’ cultural makeup and wokeness level was in 1937. It was a country for white men. This was during Jim Crowe, before the Civil Rights act was even an idea, and there were separate schools, bathrooms, and restaurants for Black people and White people. I think that the US would have been considered pretty racist and xenophobic in 1937 by today’s standards.
That’s why rebranding ‘cannabis’ as ‘marijuana’ was a brilliant move. Donna Reed America didn’t need no devil weed from them fereners. So, by associating marijuana with Mexicans and Blacks, the politicians could easily garner support from White America to make it illegal.
That’s why “Marijuana” is kinda a bad word in the Modern Cannabis community.
Just as the US Government rebranding cannabis as marijuana to make it illegal. The modern legalization advocates realized that it needed to be rerebranded back to ‘cannabis’ from ‘marijuana’ to disassociate the negative propaganda that so many generations of Americans had been indoctrinated with.
So after Colorado, Oregon, and Washington legalized recreational use in 2012, a big push to only call it ‘cannabis’ started. It was a smart and effective play.
The general public is so uninformed on this topic that many people believe that there’s a difference between medical cannabis and marijuana. Many of these people strongly opposed marijuana legalization, but wholeheartedly support ‘medical cannabis legalization’.
Semantics giveth and semantics taketh away.
I think it’s just me, but it feels pretentious.
Now that using cannabis has become somewhat stylish, it has attracted a fan base of uppity hipsters. When I hear someone say, “Man, I got some fantastic cannabis in California”, it just sounds snobby or something. “No. You got some good weed, bro. Nothing more.”
There are some other semantics that I ran into when I lived in California growing and selling large cannabis on a large scale. These weren’t advocates. These were semi-legit large scale cultivators, processors, and distributors working within California’s prop 64 medical marijuana laws, which were freaking sweet. For like $100, you could get all the paperwork you needed to grow 99 plants and possess hundreds of pounds. Also, as long as you weren’t growing in a national forest, stealing water from a river, or stealing electricity, the cops didn’t give a f what you were doing.
One time, I got pulled over outside of Santa Cruz for texting and I had 50 lbs. of weed in car. The state trooper asked me if I knew why he pulled me over. I said, “No sir. I know I wasn’t speeding. He explained to be that California was a hands free state and that we was going to ticket me for holding my phone. I told him that I was using my phone GPS to find the closest restroom because it was important I find one quickly, which was the truth. Then he turned his attention to duffle bag on my front seat that had a few pounds of weed in it. I told him that I was a medical cannabis caregiver and I was in Santa Cruz buying organic product. He asked how much I had and I told him 50 units and a little extra for me. He looked at 50 Food Saver Bags, each containing 1 pound of marijuana, then he looked at my paperwork for it and said, “Here’s your ticket for the hands free thing and there’s a McDonald’s right off the next exit with pretty clean bathrooms. Good luck, Sir!”
That was a weird day.
But Back to semantics
One of the things that established medical marijuana people in California were really strict about was referring to a ‘pound’ as a ‘unit’. I was used to calling pounds ‘ps’. Like qp, hp, and p. I got corrected so many times when I first moved out there. I’d meet a new grower and ask “How much for 10 ps?” They would politely respond, “10 units will cost you $x.00.” I was complaining about it to a native California grower about it one day and he summed it up in a very Cali way. He said, “Yeah, Bro. It’s hella lame, but you gotta remember that we’re legit businessmen. We’re not gang dealers, so we need to treat this like a legit business and act like legit businessmen so those dickheads treat us with more respect.”
So, I get it and we should refer to cannabis as cannabis since that’s technically what it is. I 100% understand why it is so important to use the word ‘cannabis’ when talking about weed in a mixed crowd or during a political process. And if you go back and find my old media appearances and interviews, you’ll see that I complied because I knew it was for a bigger cause. But I still hated it.
Sometimes I just want to say, “Dude, this weed is so loud that your neighbors are gonna invite themselves over.”
Semantics aren’t bad, they’re just frustrating when you have a high IQ
When you already understand something – I’m mean you got it down to the nuts and bolts – it’s annoying to have someone correct a word you used with a synonym. When I would say, “Smoking weed can prevent seizures and someone in the crowd would say “cannabis”, I would have to stop and take a breath. My instinctual response was “It’s the same thing, ya dipshit.”, but that doesn’t tend to win a lot of people over. So I would clean it up with a joke like, “I’m sorry. I’ve been in this industry for a long time and sometimes still have some bad habits.”
Semantics aren’t bad, though. In fact, semantics are what have helped move the needle on public support for legalization throughout the U.S. and the world so quickly. These stories I’m telling you are from 2014-2016. They already sound antiquated and it’s only 2021.
The newest, and maybe most awesome semantic, in the cannabis world right now is “hemp.” Everyone supports Hemp Legalization. I mean even the biggest anti-marijuana assholes in the South support Hemp Legalization.
You know what the U.S. Government defines “Hemp” as?
Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
Did you see that first word?
I love where this is going.
By: Daniel Macris
Cannabis Expert and CEO of Better Than Nine