• Eric

Why its spelled "marihuana" on this blog.

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

A few people have mentioned how we're spelling "marihuana" on this blog. Washington Post has a good explanation:


Photo by Romain Vignes on Unsplash

In the early 20th century “marijuana” or “marihuana” were primarily colloquial terms borrowed from Mexican Spanish, as the Brookings Institution's John Hudak explains in his book Marijuana: A Short History.
“During and especially after the Spanish-American War,” Hudak writes, “American resentment toward Mexicans and Mexican immigrants exploded.” Authorities who wanted to prohibit use of the drug soon discovered that associating it with Mexican immigrants was an effective propaganda tool.

I read Hudak's book a few years ago and highly recommend it. It outlines the history of marihuana prohibition, tracing it back to star-spangled american racism and Harry Anslinger. He asserts that the "j" spelling was favored by Anslinger because it would seem more foreign; specifically it sounded more Mexican. It's somewhat ad hominem to make a style choice based principally on acting in contrary to a single person. For a destructive and awful person like Anslinger, I don't care.


When the MRA publishes their rules, they mostly spell it with an "h". Between that and Hudak's arguments, I spell it with an "h" on this blog. I'll preserve quotes and not bracket their spelling for purposes of accuracy.

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