Magnolia Leaf BLOG

“Marijuana” is Marijuana’s Problem

“I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb test”
– Ronald Reagan

Wow! If that’s the case I should have developed some kind of super power like x-ray vision, or the ability to turn green and kick somebody’s ass with all of the “brain damage” I’ve accumulated the last decade. Look out Hancock! If I didn’t know better, I might think ole Ronnie had spent a little time on Bikini Island himself after uttering that nonsense.

The truth is, Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, both had much to do with reigniting the stigma associated with marijuana. Early in his administration the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP) run by the DEA expanded from seven states to forty. This organization increasingly ramped up the attack on young users and worked in conjunction with Nancy Reagan’s campaign, “Just Say No”. The negative image of marijuana, however, evolved long before that. The word itself evolved from the Nahuatl… Mallihuan, meaning “prisoner”. Historically, the earliest and biggest groups of users were slaves and the current form of the word is now used in all the places they involuntarily ended up. The deviant status of marijuana seems to come from associating the plant with groups that are traditionally positioned apart from “responsible society”. In other words, … If you smoke, you’re an outsider.

We now know marijuana, the plant, has a great number of benefits and to a vast number of people. We also know marijuana, the word, is replete with longstanding negative images assigned to it by societies uneducated of its potential. Let’s move on from the stereotypes associated with the word “marijuana” and stop marginalizing those who benefit from it. Mississippi has finally legalized cannabis for certain medical conditions, that’s a start! Recasting the plant as an accepted supplement to traditional medical remedies will most likely require all of us to stop using the one word that “responsible society” associates with outsiders…” Marijuana”!

Joe Kea