The Origin of Mary Jane: Marijuana Stories

If someone says they’re meeting up with their friend Mary Jane after work, they may not be talking about a person. Many stoners use “Mary Jane” as a code for cannabis, though not everyone knows Mary Jane’s origin in weed culture

Mary Jane: Weed Slang Origin

“Mary Jane” derives from the Spanish word “marijuana” due to their similar pronunciations. The term was primarily used to discuss cannabis sneakily, such as around coworkers or on the radio. 

Today, people use “Mary Jane” to refer to any cannabis items, usually flowers and buds. Other variations include Mary Warner, Mary Weaver, and Aunt Mary. 

“Mary Jane” and “Marijuana”

Interestingly, the word “marijuana” may have derived from a similar name, “Maria Juana.” This name originated from a different non-native plant called “mariguan,” which may have had similar psychoactive effects. Though the words’ origins are uncertain, nicknames such as “Mary Jane” and “Maria Juana” are ingrained in cannabis’s cultural history. 

That said, many experts agree that it is time to move past terms such as “marijuana” outside of their intended contexts. When used outside of the Spanish language, “marijuana” often has racist connotations connected to cannabis’s history in the war on drugs. It was often associated with harmful stigmas and myths that incorrectly connected cannabis with immigration, culture, and other political issues.

On the other hand, the term “Mary Jane” still appears to be acceptable slang for cannabis. This may be because the term was rarely used to stigmatize cannabis and has had various popular uses separate from the original word. Nevertheless, it’s important to stay updated on what slang might reinforce harmful stereotypes as we learn more about unconscious cannabis stigmas.  

Mary Jane Popular Uses

Mary Jane’s origin is challenging to pinpoint, considering the purpose of the nickname was to be discreet. However, it was popularized in the ’60s and ’70s by a couple of hit songs. You may be familiar with these popular uses, both older and more recent:

  • Janis Joplin’s “Mary Jane”: Originally recorded in 1965, this song is about spending all your money on one thing to stop feeling blue. 
  • Rick James’s “Mary Jane”: Released in 1978, this tongue-in-cheek track from Come Get It! sings about a “girl” named Mary Jane who takes the singer to paradise when he’s feeling low. 
  • “Merry Jane”: A hip-hop holiday song by Redman featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg. 
  • Scooby-Doo (2002): A character named “Mary Jane” appears throughout the movie as Shaggy’s romantic interest, leading to the line, “Like, that is my favorite name!”

Other Weed Slang You Must Know

“Mary Jane” is just one of many ways to refer to cannabis. Check out these other popular terms:

  • Grass: This slang can refer to many cannabis products, such as joints and eighths, simply because it’s green. Similar terms include asparagus, green tea, bush, and, of course, weed. 
  • Ganja: In Hindi/Urdu, “gāṁjā” can describe a hemp plant’s leaves, a hemp seller, or the act of smoking it.
  • 420: Celebrated on April 20th or any day at 4:20, this codeword was used between students in the ’70s who planned to get together and smoke. 

Find High-Quality Mary Jane at Harbor House Collective

Now that you know why Mary Jane means weed, you may be curious what all the codes and secrecy are really about. Explore Harbor House Collective to find the right Mary Jane for you. 

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