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Did George Washington Smoke Weed?

Did George Washington Smoke Weed?

Culture

Did George Washington Smoke Weed?

Was founding father and America’s first president a fan of cannabis? Did George Washington smoke weed? Let’s see if this urban legend has a kernel of truth to it or not.

If you’ve been around weed culture for very long, you’ve probably heard a rumor about George Washington. Specifically, that America’s first-ever president, George Washington, smoked herb back in his day. But is it true? Did George Washington smoke weed? Did our First Founding Father even have the means to do so? Let’s get to the bottom of this urban—or HERBan—legend.

George Washington and Cannabis

Did George Washington Smoke Weed?

Washington went down in history as a tactical genius, war hero, and politician. But he was primarily known as a planter and, unfortunately, a plantation owner.

Born into a family of tobacco growers, young George inherited his family’s estate. The main crop Washington cultivated and tendered might have been tobacco, but it wasn’t the only harvest that brought in cash.

We know this from the first person account of Washington himself: the man who would be president penned in his personal writings about growing hemp on his lands.

The basis behind the idea that George Washington was a weed smoker has to do with the notion of what hemp was used for in colonial-era America.

While nowadays most people might link hemp to weed or stoner culture, the crop was more or less used as a multi-purpose material during Washington’s day.

Used as a key ingredient for everyday items like paper and cloth textiles, hemp was more or less the plastic of its day.  Mining this vein, it’s understandable as to why Washington grew it on his lands.

It’s simple economics: the more products it could be used for, the more money he could make.

Final Hit: Did George Washington Smoke Weed?

Even though Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were familiar with the cannabis plant, they only knew it as hemp.

But the question remains: did they ever smoke weed? Or did they only use the crop for its industrial applications?

The best answer to these questions actually comes from the official website for Monticello, Jefferson’s infamous homestead. And while this information is specifically about Thomas Jefferson, it’s pretty safe to say it applies across the board to people like George Washington as well.

Here’s how experts have cleared the confusion behind the myth: “This statement has not been found in any of the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson did grow hemp, but there is no evidence to suggest that Jefferson was a habitual smoker of hemp.”

So, was George Washington a cannabis consumer? Did George Washington smoke weed? Assuming that he was involved with hemp the same way Jefferson was, the answer is a big fat “no.”

The link between Washington and hemp is tenuous at best, and only in reference to industrial hemp. His writings only mention “pulling” hemp—a term for harvesting it—and not smoking it. So there you have it: the HERBan legend about Washington and weed has officially been debunked.

J.E. Reich

J.E. Reich is a Brooklyn-based GRD staff writer and a former night/weekend editor at Jezebel. Their work has appeared in Slate, the Toast, the Forward, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere.

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