The History of the Word 'Weed' with David Bienenstock

Grammar Girl joins David Bienenstock, co-host of "Great Moments in Weed History," to talk about the origin and evolution of weed terminology in this bonus episode for Stitcher Premium.

Mignon Fogarty,
image of cannabis

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of a Stitcher Premium bonus podcast.

Grammar Girl: Hey, everyone! I have a special treat for you today because I'm here with David Bienenstock whom I met at the podcast movement conference last year, and he had a really interesting idea for a show about some interesting words because he hosts the “Great Moments in Weed History Podcast with David and Abdullah.” Hi David, thanks for being here today.

David Bienstock: Absolutely. I'm thrilled to talk with you.

GG: Yeah! I'm excited about these special words. So why don't you first tell the audience just a little bit about your podcast.

DB: Sure! We're a weekly podcast. Each episode covers a different—as the title strongly implies, I hope—great moment in weed history...cannabis history if you will, marijuana history if you will—we'll get into all those different words and their meanings. But this is everything from, you know, episode one is Willie Nelson smoked a joint on the roof of the White House to Maya Angelou's first time getting stoned, did Jesus use cannabis in the holy anointing oil to perform healing miracles, and some of this sort of lesser-known people who've had a huge impact on cannabis history and social change in this country and to me and my partner, from our perspective, a really important social movement that's been taking place toward legalization, towards allowing medical use of this incredibly helpful substance. So we're really proud to be telling these stories, sharing this history, and making sure people understand all the struggle and all the joy and and all the culture that's gone into our current moment of of legalization.

GG: Wow, I did not know any of those anecdotes. They all sound really interesting.

So, I live in Nevada, where marijuana recently became legal recreationally. It's been legal as medical marijuana for a little bit longer. Is it legal where you live too?

DB: It is. I have a special situation where it's legal wherever I am, no matter where I go.

GG: Oh, wow.

DB: No, that's just in my mind.

GG: No? Okay. I'm like, is that a special podcaster benefit?

DB: There'd be a lot more podcasts. I live in California. We are very recently, as Nevada, just at January 1st of this year, the recreational—and that's another word that some people cringe at that word "recreate." It just means I can use it for any reason I choose if I'm an adult 21 or older. And we've had medical cannabis laws since 1996 here in California.

GG: Right! In fact when I was saying recreational use, I stumbled because I had a feeling that that might be controversial.


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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