Washington, Adams, Jefferson All Cultivated Cannabis
By Mark Wunder | March 30, 2013 14:48:46 PM PDTMore than a decade before the American Revolution, the colony of Virginia declared that all persons must grow hemp. Efforts were rewarded with bounties of colonial coins. In 1765, George Washington - who as we all know would later become the first president of the United States - began growing cannabis, presumably for hemp. However, some evidence found in Washington’s journals suggests that he also grew cannabis for medicinal reasons.
If you know anything about growing marijuana for potency and ingesting - rather than fiber - then you know that males and females cannot near each other, unless you are trying to pollinate the females and create hybrids and cross-breeds. In a journal dated August 7, 1765, Washington writes “…began to separate the Male from the Female Hemp at Do - rather too late.” It certainly cannot be argued that our first president grew cannabis on Mt. Vernon. However, with this entry, it can be argued that he grew it for hemp as well as intoxicating value.
While recreational use of marijuana did not become popular until the early 1800’s, that does not mean that they did not know about the intoxicating effects of cannabis - after all the Native Americans certainly did. Some who do not think Washington grew marijuana for recreational or medicinal use argue that he might have separated them to get better fiber, but the phrase which he is quoted writing “rather too late” indicates that he let the male flowers begin the bloom and pollinate the females, which would generally occur around the beginning of August, which his journal is dated.
It wasn’t just George Washington with the green thumb either. John Adams, the second President of the United States and Thomas Jefferson, the third President, also are known to have grown marijuana on Mt. Vernon and other sites. Jefferson also had a section of his private garden reserved for cannabis - both male and female. Did you also know that the initial draft of the Declaration of Independence was written by Jefferson on hemp paper? To think that the very beginning of our nation becoming a nation was written in ink on a substance derived from the marijuana plant. Additionally, the U.S.S. Constitution - an early American battleship - was outfitted with 60 tons of sails, all made out of hemp. Yet it still remains federally illegal.
It cannot be argued that our first three Presidents were great men and politicians - certainly better than any American President since JFK anyway. They knew that it was perfectly okay to cultivate the cannabis plant, whether it be for fiber or other reasons. You don’t however, see journals of them cultivating the coca plant. That’s because they knew that the cannabis plant was not a dangerous one. While no clear-cut evidence can be drawn up, it’s highly suspected - pun intended - that both Jefferson and Washington ingested the female cannabis flowers in addition to growing it to make into hemp.
lindzzz | Nov 2, 2011
Lots of facts in this article, I really enjoyed the brush up on cannabis history and our nations founding fathers. I believe that if more people knew this information they might feel differently about cannabis plants being used as a natural resource.
Spacy | Feb 2, 2012
As a huge history fan, this article really impressed me. I had no idea that our first 3 presidents grew hemp. They never brushed on that topic in the history books in school. Our founding fathers grew, so why shouldn't we be able to. Even in WWII with America's "Hemp for Victory!" tactic which urged it's citizens to grow hemp.
Guest | Mar 30, 2013
are these articles based on facts?