Lest we forget
Cannabis was first cultivated around 4000 B.C. in China. Since then, it has been a popular source of fiber. Everything from rope to clothes has been made from it. Even the original drafts of the Declaration of Independence were on hemp paper. But it has also been popular for its medicinal and intoxicating properties. Queen Victoria used it to relieve her period pains, and from 1842 to 1900, nearly half of all the medicine sold in America contained marijuana.
Cannabis was introduced to the New World by the Spaniards prior to 1545. The settlers in Jamestown brought it to Virginia in 1611. It was found to be so useful that in 1762, Virginia awarded bounties to farmers who grew hemp and to manufacturers who converted it into various products. Not stopping there, Virginia also penalized those who didn’t produce it.
Just three years after Virginia was handing out its bounties, George Washington was growing cannabis at Mount Vernon, as can be seen by two entries he made in his diary. For the dates May 12-13, 1765, he wrote, “Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp.” And then on August 7, 1765, he wrote, “—began to seperate (sic) the Male from the Female Hemp at Do—rather too late.”
Recreational use of the drug reached America before 1856, for in that year a series of articles written by Fitz Hugh Ludlow about his marijuana-eating experiences were published in Putnam’s Magazine and then as a book titled The Hasheesh Eater. Ludlow was a sixteen-year-old in Poughkeepsie, New York, when he began experimenting with various drugs at the local pharmacy, including chloroform, opiates, and stimulants.
By 1883, hashish houses were established among the opium dens in New Orleans, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The following year, hashish candy was being sold in Baltimore.
The father of our country wasn’t the only president interested in marijuana—Thomas Jefferson also grew it. And then, of course, there was President Bill Clinton. Since he claims he tried marijuana without inhaling, it might be assumed that he ate some Alice B. Toklas brownies. But either way, he definitely knew of the drug’s intoxicating properties.
History 101; pg 210
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This day (August the 13th) marks the first day of the runic halfmonth of As, the ash tree. The As rune is sacred to the divinities of Asgard and represents stability with the divine force in the world. The world ash, Yaggdrasil, a symbol of continuity in times of change and chaos.