BY DANIEL SWEENEY
A few of us may know, or can infer, what the genera vitis or nicotiana refer to. Fewer, perhaps, malus or pyrus. How many of us are familiar with solanum? Humulus? Triticum? Hordeum? Zea?
Marijuana. Pot. Weed. Ganja. Reefer. Whacky tobacky. There are countless names for the drug that has become a cultural mainstay in America today. But the people who grow and sell it, the people who make up — and cater to — the booming industry that is “marijuana,” invariably refer to the drug as “cannabis.” Consciously or not, this is an attempt to reform the public’s view of an increasingly powerful psychoactive drug.
I am a grape grower and a viticulturist by title. I grow wine grapes for vineyard owners and wineries, so I am no stranger to the drug industry or it’s marketing efforts. If I were to use the term vitis with any of my clients I would surely get a raised eyebrow and maybe, if I were lucky, a chuckle.
I grew up in the tobacco country of Virginia and North