Steve Gieder, Executive Director of Humboldt Green helped encourage California politicians to start using the term cannabis instead of marijuana. Back in 2015, Gavin Newsom the Lieutenant Governor of California traveled to Garberville with the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy to hold a public forum to hear from the Emerald Triangle Farmers directly. This event marked a pivotal day in California cannabis history. The packed town hall meeting brought together the California Lieutenant Governor, Assembly member Jim Woods, local law enforcement, farmers, concerned community members and local stakeholders. During the first half of the meeting, the community listened to politicians explain how new State laws would unfold during legalization and how Humboldt’s braintrust of all things green would be a huge influence.
Steve Gieder recounts his experience at the meeting, “During the first half of the discussion, I kept cringing as I listened to the politicians and law enforcement repeatedly use the “M” word. Marijuana is a word that was coined during National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger’s war on drugs. Most of the people in that room did not have a clue about the history of the “M” word.”
The second half of the meeting featured a Q and A session between audience members and the regulators. Gieder listened as community members used different terminology to describe our most valued agriculture crop. “I stood in line and listed to the concerns of our Humboldt cannabis community”, explained Gieder. The Executive Director of Humboldt Green stepped up to the microphone to educate and convince the visiting politicians to stop using the derogatory term marijuana and to start calling the healing plant cannabis instead.
“When I took the mic, my emotions took over as usual and I began my calculated approach to helping the big wigs hear our collective voice. I explained that I was a member of California Cannabis Voice Humboldt and asked the regulators to acknowledge that they were using the derogatory made up term marijuana. I shared with them that our farming community does not approve of the “M” word and asked them to instead use the scientific and progressive term cannabis. I told them it was time to leave the “M” word behind,” stated Gieder.
Lieutenant Governor Newsome and the Blue-Ribbon Commission was very receptive to Gieder’s suggestion. They apologized for using the derogatory word and changed their terminologies immediately. Gieder explained, “The crowd was feeling it and the politicians thanked me for my contribution to the meeting. After the event was over I approached the panel and they embraced me, and we took photos together.”
Futurist Ken Hamik, long-time friend and business associate of Gieder was also present at the Town Hall Meeting. “I captured this photo when a single voice (Steve Gieder) stood in front of the Lieutenant Governor of California and said don’t call it marijuana, call it cannabis,” shared Hamik.
Gieder’s statement had a huge impact that day in setting off a wave of change. The Blue-Ribbon Commission continued their tour throughout California and in every town they visited along the way they championed using the word cannabis instead of marijuana.
In January of 2016, Assembly member Rob Bonta was successful in updating Assembly Bill 1575 to replace the word marijuana with the correct term cannabis.
“By speaking up, we helped change cannabis history and it’s something I’m really proud of,” said Gieder.
Visit KMUD.org to listen to the May 29, 2015 live broadcast recording of the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy; Public Forum in Garberville. Steve Gieder speaks at the 28:09 mark.