“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

We now celebrate the 237th anniversary of our independence from England, the birth of a nation that, at least according to official words, is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. But are we truly free? While many, many pages could be written covering serious liberty issues that face our people in 2013, we’ll keep our focus on Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana.

Did American colonists know about Hemp? You’d better believe they did. From the time the first settlers set foot in the “New world,” Hemp was a mainstay of survival. At one time, in the Jamestown colony, you could be jailed if you DID NOT grow Hemp! You could use Hemp as money; even pay your taxes with Hemp. Thomas Jefferson obtained the first United State patent on a Hemp thrashing machine. Benjamin Franklin built the colonies’ first paper mill using Hemp, so we weren’t dependent on England for paper on which to communicate with.

Historically, Cannabis was described as “Hemp” for the fiber, paper, oil, etc. plant and “Sweet Hemp” was what you smoked. There were words used like “Indian Hemp” (which referred to the Asian continent, not Native Americans), and eventually, Cannabis Sativa Linnaeus. By the way, Linnaeus is the botanist who officially named the plant.

“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” -George Washington, The Writings of George Washington Volume 33, page 270 (Library of Congress), 1794

Washington was a farmer. He grew Hemp, as was required by law. But Washington far exceeded the legal requirements because he understood the value of Hemp. Clothing, paper, cordage, oil, food, sails, and oakum were sorely needed by the young nation. He knew Hemp products would last. He also knew that a person’s pleasure was their own, and shouldn’t be regulated by any government.

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson also knew about Hemp. He also knew about freedom and how to keep the young country alive through thick and thin. Jefferson also grew Hemp. He reportedly smuggled some prize French Hemp seeds out of that country to return to the U.S. for a better strain. Jefferson also smuggled prized “Sweet Hemp” seeds from China, where the smoking of Cannabis had been practiced for several thousand years.

In correspondence between Washington and Jefferson, Washington lamented that he had arrived back at Mount Vernon too late to separate the male from the female plants. There is only one reason a grower needs to do that, and that is to prevent female fertilization so the ingestion of “Sweet Hemp” was better.

During the colonial period, smoking “Sweet Hemp” was widely known and smoking was practiced, but there is precious little documentation of it. Historian Harvey Wasserman wrote in Hustler Magazine: 

“Washington’s fellow farming fanatic Thomas Jefferson apparently wrote that ‘some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.’

There is no solid evidence that Jefferson or Washington smoked the good, green Herb. But there is certainly no proof that they did not. If they knew to separate male and female plants, that Jefferson went to the dangerous smuggling of seeds from two different countries and other circumstantial evidence, and the practice of smoking Cannabis went back several thousand years, it would be reasonable to assume that they did.

Would America’s “Founding Fathers” keep Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana illegal? After reviving them after they find out what has become of this nation, I think their first order of business would be to relegalize.