George Washington was a hemp farmer, he praised the plant in many of his writings and encouraged the widespread production of it. According to current United States drug laws, George Washington was a threat to society and deserved imprisonment.

In a letter to Alexander Hamilton, Washington wrote, "How far ... would there be propriety do you conceive in suggesting the policy of encouraging the growth of Cotton, and Hemp in such parts of the United States as are adapted to the culture of these articles?"1

Washington had apparently already made a decision regarding the "propriety" of growing hemp, as illustrated in his 1765 farm diaries. The diaries are littered with such entries as "May 12-13: Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp. Sowed ditto above the Meadow at Doeg Run"2 and "Aug. 15: The English Hemp i.e. the Hemp from the English seed was picked at Muddy hole this day & was ripe. Began to separate Hemp in the Neck".3

In a letter to James Anderson he wrote: "I thank you as well for the Seeds as for the Pamphlets which you had the goodness to send me. The artificial preparation of Hemp, from Silesia, is really a curiosity..."4 A curiosity how?

One of the more interesting tidbits from his 1765 diary: "Began to separate the Male from the Female hemp at Muddy hole--rather too late."3 This suggests that he was growing hemp not only for fiber, but for medicinal or recreational purposes. It could be argued that the separation was to enhance the fiber, but the phrase "rather too late" suggests that the female plants had already been fertilized and that he was not pleased. Recreational marijuana is grown sinsemilla to maximize the tetrahydrocannabinol content of the female plants.

Whether or not George Washington was a stoner will be left for the reader to decide, he was definitely a hemp proponent. Too bad his influence didn't last.


1. http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgw2/018/0280026.jpg
2. http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgwd/wd01/0395.tif
3. http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgwd/wd01/0398.tif
4. http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgw2/019/0380026.jpg

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