Hawaii Bill Looks to Replace 'Marijuana' With 'Cannabis'

March 16, 2017
West Hawaii Today

A bill to replace the term “medical marijuana” with “medical cannabis” in state law is moving through the Legislature, though most other marijuana-related measures have died.

Senate Bill 786, introduced by state Sen. Mike Gabbard, D-Oahu, says the word “marijuana” originated as a “slang term” and carries “prejudicial implications rooted in racial stereotypes” from the early 20th century when the drug was first criminalized in the United States. “Cannabis” is a more accurate term, the bill says, and carries “no such negative connotations.”

If passed, the word change would affect state statute, Hawaii Administrative Rules and require the state Department of Health to revise all its documents, letterheads and websites to conform.

The bill is co-sponsored by state Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna. Earlier this week, it crossed over to the House.

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