I read with both interest and amusement the Week in Weed commentary, "Illicit Markets and Cultural Insensitivity" by Thadeus Greenson (Aug. 15).
First, as regards the continued discussion of the origins and intentions of the term "marijuana," let me note that I am a proud affiliate of Humboldt State University's Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, which is ironic to the extent that many contend that academia is the veritable citadel for "social justice warriors." HIIMR has discussed the controversy about the term "marijuana" and decided thus far to stick with the linguistic/political record on that term, largely as described in your cited article by Grant Scott-Goforth ("Marijuana isn't Racist," June 9, 2016). Second, as a cultural anthropologist who studied Mexican farmworkers in the western U.S. for almost three decades, I can assure your readers that the terms "illegal" and "illicit" are both fraught with controversy to a far greater degree than "black" markets. Witness the debate on what term to use for those people who enter and work in the U.S. without permission from our government. "Illegal immigrant" is almost as verboten as "illegal alien" by a large and growing portion of the population.
Therefore, third, let me suggest popular alternatives to "black," "illegal" and "illicit." With tongue firmly in cheek, I personally prefer to refer to the non-regulated market as either "the people's market" or "the duty-free market!" I believe that both are easily understood, historically accurate and rather enlightening regarding the ever-shifting role of the state vis-a-vis this particular plant.
Fred Krissman, Eureka