George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others all made use of cannabis
There is one plant that continues to make its way into the history of the North American nation. The sails of Christopher Columbus’ ships were made from it. It also made the first US flag and was used in the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was printed. Hemp was legalized in 2018 and its prevalence throughout US history has led it to be a plant that was even related to the founding fathers.
Humans have cultivated hemp for thousands of years. More recently in human history, the founding fathers of the US grew hemp for many purposes.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Hemp is of prime necessity for the wealth and protection of the country.” He specifically referred to the high-quality ropes, sails and textiles made from hemp used to keep the colonial navy afloat. Jefferson was ambassador to France during the hashish era there. At the risk of imprisonment, if caught, Jefferson smuggled hemp seed from China, known for its potency, to the US.
George Washington grew hemp on his Mount Vernon estate. Like Jefferson, Washington grew industrial hemp for ropes and sails used for sailboats. In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing or, as indicated in Mount Vernon records, for use in repairing the large seine fishing nets Washington used in his fishing operation along the Potomac.
Unlike the other founding fathers, James Madison directly stated his personal consumption of hemp. He credited the creative properties of hemp for giving him insight into the structuring of our democracy. President Madison heavily influenced the constitution, as well as wrote many of the Federalist papers that also helped form the main documents for interpreting the constitution.