George Washington Did It

May 2, 2012

In George Washington's diaries he noted in 1762 that he was growing marijuana at Mount Vernon.  There is a dispute over whether he was growing the plants for their fiber, for medicinal purposes, or both.  During Washington's day marijuana was thought to have significant economic possibilities.  There are a number of reports both Washington and Thomas Jefferson planting and growing marijuana for various purposes.  It was learned, however, after trial and error that most hemp based products were best used for local use rather than use after export.  The fiber quality of the hemp in those days was apparently insufficient to survive travel by sea to Britain.  Thus, no market was developed for hemp based products outside of the local area in which it was grown.

Both Jefferson and Washington were known to use various techniques to increase the fiber content of the hemp plants.  And, Washington was known to use techniques that would increase the potency of THC in the plants - a factor that could only be useful in medicinal or recreation use.  There is very little evidence - but still some - that Washington used marijuana recreationally.  

So it appears that at least two of our founders were in favor of hemp products and medicinal marijuana.  Too bad they aren't still in power today.  With the industrial age came significant improvements in the use of hemp products for both industrial and consumer goods.  Hemp farming offers a significant opportunity for our economic well-being, and provides opportunities for low-cost medicinal relief for patients with a wide array of medical ailments.  So the question is:  Why won't our political leaders admit these benefits and change the law?   Tell us your theories in the comments below.