L or El? Marijuana

Jan Ivarsson TransEdit transedit.h at TELIA.COM
Thu Dec 27 14:06:05 UTC 2001

Benjamin Barrett asks
>Does anyone know how to spell the word "ell" used for marijuana and where it comes from?

A Swedish police officer, teaching at the Police Academy's Narcotics Center, has published a very interesting dictionary (in Swedish, but it should be easily understandable for an English-language linguist) containing over 5000 drug terms taken from many languages:

Stefan Holmén, "Pundartugg. Narkotikarelaterade slanguttryck" (1997, Polishögskolan, Sörentorp, S-17192 Solna, Sweden, 412 p.)

He has the following words which could be possible origins: "El Kif", North African name of cannabis; "Elle Momo", marijuana laced with PCP (Peace Pill, phencyclidine, angel dust); "Elva", cannabis from Bresil; "L.L." for cannabis.
"L" alone is normally used for LSD.
Sadly, he gives no indication of sources for individual words, just a general list of sources.

Jan Ivarsson
jan.ivarsson at transedit.st

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