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did thomas jefferson grow weed

Status: This statement has not been found in any of the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It appears to be of extremely recent vintage (first noticed online in 2008), and only made its way into print sources as of 2013.1

Thomas Jefferson did grow hemp, but there is no evidence to suggest that Jefferson was a habitual smoker of hemp, tobacco, or any other substance. Some have pointed to a supposed reference in Jefferson’s farm book to separating male and female hemp plants as evidence that he was cultivating it for purposes of recreational smoking; no such reference exists in Jefferson’s farm book or any other document.

George Washington did record the practice of separating hemp in his own diary: “Began to seperate the Male from the Female hemp at Do.&—rather too late.”2 Arthur Young, well-known English agricultural writer, explained the separation of hemp as follows: “This may arise from their [the male] hemp being coarser, and the stalks larger.”3

Did thomas jefferson grow weed

In fact, that quote is completely made up. None of his writings include it (or anything like it); it was falsely attributed to him—no doubt by a marijuana fan—in recent times, and it has lived a life of its own on the Internet along with lots of other made-up “facts.”

The cannabis or hemp plant has been an important source of grain and fiber for thousands of years. It was brought to North and South America by European colonists in the 1500s. Hemp fiber was widely used for making sails, rope, clothing, paper, and other valuable commodities, and the growing of hemp was encouraged by the American colonies.

In 1906, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, requiring that cannabis and other herbal products be accurately labeled. This was the beginning of laws regulating the sale of cannabis. In later years, some states passed more restrictive laws on cannabis-based medicines as more and more people realized that they could be habit-forming.

In Part 1, we showed how the cannabis (hemp) plant spread from Asia to other parts of the world thousands of years ago, mainly because of its usefulness as a fiber and a grain. But as in ancient times, today some people used it for healing and some used it as a recreational drug. Now we’ll look at cannabis in America from Colonial times until the start of the 20 th century, and lay to rest one of the biggest myths about the history of this drug.

NIDA. “History of Cannabis, Part 2.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 5 Mar. 2015, https://archives.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/history-of-cannabis-part-2.