Detroit Police Refuse to Stop Spelling 'Marijuana' with an H

State officials in Michigan can finally stop referring to cannabis as 'maihuana,' but cops in Detroit refuse to spell 'marijuana' with a 'j' instead of an 'h.'

Until recently, 'marihuana' was the official spelling for cannabis in Michigan. All laws and official documents, emails, tweets and other forms of communication used that old-timey spelling, which made state legislators and law enforcers sound like they'd just wandered off the set of 'Reefer Madness.' 

The antiquated spelling goes all the way back to 1937, when Harry Anslinger introduced the Marihuana Tax Act - a bill that made marijuana with an 'h' the official spelling of the word under federal law. When Michigan drafted their own Public Health Code in 1978, they adopted the old-school spelling and have continued using it ever since.

Now in the wake of legalizing recreational cannabis last November, Michigan is finally catching up with the times by rebranding the state's cannabis control board as the 'Bureau of Marijuana Regulation'—now spelled with a 'j.' All public-facing documents will spell marijuana with a 'j,' but legal documents will continue to use the 'h,' according to David Harns, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

"We're still going to be using the correct-by-law spelling when we're referencing official documents," Harns told MLive.

But not everyone's onboard with the rebranding efforts. The Detroit Police agency recently responded to the name change by saying they will continue to use the 'h' in official as well as public-facing communications.

Ridiculous as that stance sounds, if keeping their old-timey 'h' is what it takes to get Michigan law enforcers onboard with marijuana reform, then we'll let them have it.

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