Why is marihuana spelled with an "h" instead of a "j"?

The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) is frequently asked why marihuana is spelled with an “h” instead of a ”j.” Both spellings, marijuana and marihuana are acceptable. Many in the industry, to avoid confusion refer to the botanical plant—cannabis. While the spelling with a “j” is more common today, you will still see Michigan law using the “h” spelling.

The spelling of marihuana has a long history in the United States. Michigan’s history primarily starts from the spelling that was chosen for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Michigan adopted its statutory definition of marihuana in the Public Health Code, utilizing the then current federal spelling.

As governing state laws spell marihuana with an “h,” communication from BMMR in relation to the Medical Marihuana Act or facility licensing and the applicable administrative rules will use an “h” in the spelling of Marihuana. An act of the Michigan Legislature would be required in order to change the spelling of marihuana in the Michigan statutes, such as the Public Health Code or the newer marihuana laws.