Friday, August 26, 2005

Cannabis by any other name would smell as sweet...

I received this in my inbox this morning...

I strongly feel that when you use the word "POT", that you minimize such a powerful healing medication. And you nullify all the hard work of those who are really trying to make a difference. There is a NEGATIVE CONNOTATION a "taboo", if you will that the media likes to associate this word with. I have seen many newspapers throw it around their front pages, and even if the news is good there is a STIGMA associated to that slangish work. When WE the people who are part of the movement participate in such slang/trashy language, we are viewed just as such. You are what you hang out with and my paradygm is that I am a Legal Medical Marijuana Patient! Not a POT HEAD, I don't roll around with POT in the car, and I medicate when necessary, not SMOKE POT!

I thought, this woman sure does feel passionate about her semantics. So I wrote her back...

I can only assume you are talking about the book I wrote with federal marijuana patient George McMahon, which our publisher titled "Prescription Pot: A Leading Advocate's Heroic Battle to Legalize Medical Marijuana". We fought them tooth and nail to keep our original title, "The Green Path: A Journey to Uncle Sam's Marijuana Garden". But by the time we figured out that Asa Hutchinson, the ex-chief administrator of the DEA, was cozy with the publisher (doing signings for another one of their books with an anti-drug message, called "Swallowing A Bitter Pill"), it was too late to change publishers, and we did not want the narrative tied up in court, because the narrative was not ruined (altered, but not ruined) and we knew people would be dying in the meantime. So just remember, you can't always judge a book by it's cover.

I forwarded the initial email to George McMahon, federal marijuana patient and recipient of the National Certificate of Heroism. Here's what he wrote in response.

I have used every vernacular imagineable when describing the therapeutic use of cannabis, or pot, or whatever name it might be recognized by. The fact is it makes little difference what descriptive noun is used. Telling folks to talk unnaturally is falling right into the trap so easily seen as falsehoods. Speak plainly and slowly. Explain both the action and dosage of this plant in the terms that fit both the speaker as well as the listener. All words are acceptable. It is the message that matters. Sorry we were not able to title our 3 years on the road with the original title, The Green Path. Wait. We are going to soon self-publish that book, so it will be available. Lol

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