Federal Marijuana Records Would Be Automatically Sealed Under New Bipartisan Congressional Bill

“There is not one piece of evidence that suggests that word was used purposely by anybody to stain cannabis.”

By Rebecca Rivas, Missouri Independent

I was talking to a cannabis business owner I’ve known for a while and respect. The man, who is white, told me he refused to use the term “marijuana” because it’s racist.

It was one of my first conversations on the cannabis beat, which I’ve been on for a month now. And my mind was bursting with questions.

Should I be offended by the word marijuana??!!

This Chicana journalist has been on a mission to get answers ever since.

Immediately, I turned to Google and realized that he was talking about the numerous accounts saying that in the 1930s, American politicians leading the charge of prohibition popularized the term “marijuana” in the U.S. to paint the drug as a “Mexican vice” and to have an excuse to persecute Mexican immigrants.

Yet now after talking to scholars, lawmakers, fellow Latino journalists and even my parents, I’ve learned that—yes—race is involved, but not in the way I expected.

First, I spoke with Isaac Campos, a professor of Latin American History at the University of Cincinnati and author of

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