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03 Where did the word `marijuana' come from?




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This article is from the Hemp / Cannabis / Marijuana FAQ, by Brian S. Julin verdant@twain.ucs.umass.edu with numerous contributions by others.

03 Where did the word `marijuana' come from?

The word `marijuana' is a Mexican slang term which became
popular in the late 1930's in America, during a series of
media and government programs which we now refer to as the
`Reefer Madness Movement.' It refers specifically to the
medicine part of cannabis, which Mexican soldiers used to
smoke.

Today in the U.S., hemp (meaning the roots, stalk, and stems
of the cannabis plant) is legal to possess. No one can
arrest you for wearing a hemp shirt, or using hemp paper.
Marijuana (The flowers, buds, or leaves of the cannabis
plant) is not legal to possess, and there are stiff fines
and possible jail terms for having any marijuana in your
possession. The seeds are legal to possess and eat, but
only if they are sterilized (will not grow to maturity.)

Since it is not possible to grow the hemp plant without
being in possession of marijuana, the United States does not
produce any industrial hemp products, and must import them
or, more often, substitute others. (There is a way to grow
hemp legally, but it involves filing an application with the
Drug Enforcement Administration and the DEA very rarely ever
gives its permission.) This does not seem to have stopped
people from producing and using marijuana, though. In many
of the United States, marijuana is the number one cash crop,
mostly because it fetches a very high price on the black
market.

 

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