To celebrate Hemp History Week, Mount Vernon’s Pioneer Farm site in Virginia welcomed the planting of an industrial cultivar of hemp, highlighting George Washington’s experience with the plant that’s been dominating headlines in recent months.
Historically demonized due to its familial association with marijuana, the hemp plant got some long-overdue respect in late May 2018 as well. A Montana hemp farmer won access to water controlled by the US Federal Bureau of Reclamation.
Also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told WKYT-TV reporters “I think it’s time to make hemp legal.”
While its long been rumored that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were early fans of relaxing with cannabis, it’s a fact that George grew hemp — more than 1,000 square feet of it.
Utilized by Washington during the 18th century to make textiles, rope, thread, and help win the American Revolution, hemp now represents one of the world’s cleanest options for turning back the tides of global warming.
Industrial hemp, according to a report by Good Earth Resources, “has been scientifically proven to absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop and is therefore the ideal carbon sink.”
A man ahead of his time, “Washington’s diaries and farm reports indicate that hemp was cultivated at all of his five farms,” according to the Mount Vernon website. In February 1794, Washington wrote to his farm manager, William Pearce, “…I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the India Hemp [seed.]”
Dean Norton, the director of horticulture at Mount Vernon noted that by planting industrial hemp again at Mount Vernon, “we have been able to return a primary crop to Mount Vernon that has not been grown since Washington’s time.”
Despite the hazy history surrounding George’s fondness for lighting up (or not), there remains little doubt that George Washington was not only the father of our country, he was an early and ardent supporter of this carbon-capturing, environmentally friendly, and nutrient-dense plant.