Shakespeare the pothead?

A line in William Shakespeare's Sonnet # 76 made some researchers in South Africa curious. What if the "noted weed" the Bard referred to was actually weed? You know, reefer. Pot. Cannabis. Marijuana.

Cannabis was grown in England as early as the year 400. In the 16th and 17th centuries, hemp was frequently used for ropes and canvases for ships.

Off to Stratford-on-Avon, where the researchers dug up Shakespeare's property at New Place, where he spent the last years of his life. They discovered some clay pipes in the ground dating back to Shakespeare's time and tested them for traces of cannabis. Bingo.

This doesn't necessarily prove anything, however, it just means that there was a possibility that Shakespeare indulged. Some will, of course, jump to the conclusion that the Bard toked for inspiration, and that marijuana led to classics like Hamlet and King Lear. That makes perfect sense - until you remember all the half-baked stoners laying on the couch watching infomercials and not exactly churning out sonnets. All this probably means is that Shakespeare liked to indulge in a toke after a long day of working at the Globe.