Cannabis has played an important role in American history since the colonies were first formed. The Founding Fathers were well known hemp lovers, including George Washington, who grew the plant at Mount Vernon. Hemp was used at the time for countless purposes in colonial America, such as rope for vessels, clothes and fuel and it became especially useful when it came to our early father’s revolutionary ideas.
In the late 1700s, some American medical journals were already suggesting using hemp seeds and roots to treat various health problems, including skin inflammation and incontinence. William O’Shaughnessy was an Irish doctor in the British East India Company who touted medical cannabis’ benefits for rheumatism and nausea in England and America.
Cannabis or marijuana and hemp come from the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa L. It’s one of the oldest domesticated crops. Years of breeding and manipulation resulted in the emergence of two varieties: one for medicinal and spiritual purposes, the other for agricultural and industrial uses.
In 1976 the International Association of Plant Taxonomy published a study that found “both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus, Cannabis, and the same species, Cannabis Sativa.
How the plant is grown and utilized determines which term is correct. But regardless of which type of cannabis, the uses are countless.
No wonder the US Government would ask farmers to grow hemp before prohibition:
The fact is our founding fathers have always been in love in cannabis:
Here are some patriotic facts gathered by the good folks at Higher Leaf in Washington:
It’s ironic that as a result of regulation cannabis will be heavily taxed when once upon a time it helped fight British Taxes: The 1765 Stamp Act inflicted exorbitant taxes on all business and legal paper as well as all printed materials in the colonies. Benjamin Franklin, with the help from his wife, built the first hemp paper mill, freeing colonists from their dependency on the highly taxed British paper. It’s also said that the kite Franklin used for his experiments with electricity was made of hemp.
Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was printed on hemp. His famous freedom fighting manifesto made a persuasive and impassioned case for independence. Paine was a vocal proponent of cannabis and spoke highly of all it could do for America, including clothing Washington’s army in hemp uniforms and its potential to become the largest cash crop in the colonies.
Declaration of Independence –While the final version of the Declaration was not written on hemp, just 14 years later the United States Constitution was printed on hemp paper. Thomas Jefferson was both a founding father and a founding farmer who cultivated hemp and sung its praises: “Some of my finest hours have been spent sitting on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”
And what can be more patriotic than the American Flag? The original American Flag, featuring 13 white stars and 13 red and blue stripes, was created by seamstress Betsy Ross, who wanted to use the strongest fiber available in colonial America to sew this iconic symbol of patriotism at the request of George Washington.
So when you celebrate this Fourth of July, think of the sacrifices our founding fathers endured and the innovative ways they used this healing plant to ensure our freedom and liberty — freedom and liberty that is often take away so easily when it comes to cannabis today.
Happy Independence Day from the team at The Alliance!