In the recent months leading toward legalization, you've probably noticed that representatives of the Canadian government and Health Canada are referring to the plant that many of us call "marijuana" as cannabis.

At first glance, most of us probably thought that this was simply the scientific name for the plant, and a way to verify its legitimacy when spoken about formally. However the soon-to-be legalized substance is being referred to as anything but marijuana for a reason.

A large part of why it's actively called cannabis, is due to Health Canada and members of government trying to to remove the negative connotation that slag words carry, and prevent the stigma from potentially tarnishing the legalization talks.

But you'll likely never find a member of government or Health Canada refer to the substance as marijuana either, a term which is much more widely-accepted and seemingly harmless compared to its slang counterparts.

The word "marijuana" isn't nearly as harmless as the plant itself. The much-debated term has a much longer and darker political history than most people know about. The term was first popularized in the U.S. during the 1930s to demonize and prohibit the plant by associating it with Mexican immigrants and referring to it by the commonly-used Mexican-Spanish name for the plant, marijuana or marihuana.

Halifax politician Shawn Cleary recently caused controversy for publicly stating that he would no longer use the word as it is "racist" and was urging for the word to be publicly banned in Canada. Critics were quick to note that Mexican is not a "race," but his argument about the political incorrectness of the word is worth assessing.

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But in a way, his argument against the word has already been embraced in Canada,  as Health Canada has not the word publicly or in any of its communications since early 2016, and many businesspeople, advocates, investors, and users only refer to the plant by its much more universally-accepted name, cannabis, which doesn't have the same negative connotations as this still popular word might.

Source: National Post

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