A bud by any other name…

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In recent years the term a person uses to describe Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica, the plant species most commonly known as marijuana, has become important for many activists, scientists, scholars, and others in the movement.

While I am a big supporter of the name “cannabis”, obviously, there are many names for the plant which have been used over the years that are much better known, and, as much as I support a positive image for cannabis, I think many of the other names are fine, especially in an open and non-medical market.

There are extremely offensive terms like “reefer” and “the devil’s flower” which were used as propaganda in the 1930’s and 40’s. These types of terms remain offensive due to their original intent with their inflammatory nature. Within the relatively small marijuana community of the 40’s, terms like “tea”, “muggles”, and “cheeba” were commonly used to describe the illegal plant.

Many other terms emerged that were slang terms intended to obfuscate it from authorities, most of which are affectionately intended and remain unoffensive with the majority of the marijuana movement.

By the 1960’s, many attitudes changed and more widely used terms emerged that reflect the now affectionate acceptance of the fast growing plant, like “weed”, “grass”, and “Mary Jane”. Still other terms have a somewhat negative connotation, but are were embraced by the counter-culture in the 60’s. Terms like “dope”, “giggle weed”, “pot”, and “pocket rocket”, the latter being another term for “joint”, or a marijuana cigarette. Now, everything has changed.

The lines between good and bad are not only between cannabis smokers and the police, but now it is between millions of marijuana aficionados and the unsupportive public, whose numbers are dwindling rapidly. In fact, what the police think is much less relevant, one might say practically irrelevant, and what the general public believes is now everything.

The name game is going to break wide open. With public acceptance of marijuana, a mad rush to get a piece of the “marijuana brownie”, and the need for a marijuana business to stand out from the thousands of others, I expect a lot of crazy names to pop up. In Colorado, many businesses are already getting creative.

With names like “The Grass Station”, “Dank”, and “Cheeba Chews”, many businesses are forging ahead with creative names that utilize slang marijuana terms. “Weedmart” in Oceanside and “Mary Jane’s” in Moreno Valley show California businesses are willing to legitimize what were once underground terms, as well. And Washington and Oregon are no different, with some companies challenging the PC police with names like “Dr. Jolly’s” and “Weed on Wheels”.

With the legalization of marijuana becoming a common topic of discussion and public acceptance shifting rapidly in it’s favor, normalization of long used terms is inevitable and, from my perspective, a welcome change, especially in the legal adult use market.

Medical dispensaries and medical vendors should probably be more careful in choosing their names, though. Would a patient be interested in going to a medical cannabis dispensary called “Stoned Again” for your medication. If they can’t be at least a little more serious about their business name, how serious can they be about their meds?

Keith Mansur

Keith Mansur is the founder, publisher, and editor of Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper. The print publication has been serving Oregon since 2010. He has been a Oregon medical marijuana patient, grower, and caregiver since 2006. Find him on Facebook or email him at occnewspaper420@gmail.com

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