With Presidents Day today and his birthday later this week, let’s take a look at George Washington’s lesser known love of hemp!
By: Chloe Persichetti
To celebrate Presidents Day, and with George Washington’s birthday this week, we thought it would be a great time to highlight one of the founding fathers’ lives…and discover a secret you may not have known about Washington. When we think of George, we probably remember him as a pioneer of sorts, since he was the first President of the United States. Or maybe you think of his luscious white flowing locks, perfectly fastened in a low pony that was completely on-trend at the time. Amongst those perfectly valid initial thoughts, Washington was also highly revered for his military role in leading the American Revolution. Were you aware, however, that our first president had another side-passion?
Hemp Was A Mt. Vernon Tradition
Did you know that President Washington was also a farmer? Our first president was very attached to his farm at Mount Vernon! Washington helped oversee the construction of The White House until President John Adams was the first president to live there. So, Washington took his home at Mount Vernon. He greatly enjoyed the time he spent tending to his garden. But what did he grow? One of the crops that Washington was known to grow was actually hemp! Due to the passing and eventual backtracking of federal laws regarding the plant, hemp wasn’t allowed to be grown again on the Mount Vernon property until 2018. Now, Mount Vernon offers a true historical glimpse of how our first president lived. You can even visit it if you are in the Virginia area. The historic landmark offers a fiber-making demonstration from the hemp grown on the land, so you can go back in history and see first-hand the day-to-day of the Washington estate when it was still George’s residence.
Hemp looks like long, green stalks with leaves all over. Though it can look almost identical to other cannabis plants, such as marijuana, hemp is nothing like it. Marijuana can’t be cultivated for the uses that hemp can. Though President Washington loved hemp, he was nowhere near the first person to begin cultivating the plant. The use of hemp can date back all the way to the 2nd century AD, where certain Buddhist texts were found to have been written on hemp-based paper.
Washington And His Cash Crops
At one point, Washington was placed in a position to determine whether or not hemp should overtake tobacco as a major US cash crop. If you were unaware, a cash crop means growing the plant to be sold rather than the personal use of the grower. The plant’s potential for varied, beneficial usage made him seriously consider the plan, but in the end, he decided that hemp should be known simply as a reliable plant, not a major cash crop. His ultimate decision shows the integral position the plant played in his community and the lives of early Americans. I mean, think about it: hemp could be taken apart and fused into countless different materials and objects. It’s where higher authorities such as the military turned to for the purpose of strengthening their ropes and sails; same goes for fishermen throughout the country. All kinds of people used hemp because of its low-cost, dependability and durability.
Of course, Washington’s hemp wasn’t grown for intoxicating purposes; it was an industrial venture! The hemp grown in his backyard provided his entire staff with durable clothing, as well as fitted the entire house with linens (sheets, towels) and created thread, which was ideal for patching clothing and sewing. When it came time to eat, the hemp plant was also a strong source of nutrition. Its seeds are high in natural fats, which kept George and others satisfied. The oil from the seeds could be transformed into necessary goods as well, such as soap and paints.
Hemp Was A Presidential Plant
Interestingly, our first three presidents grew hemp! George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson all shared a love of hemp. Its countless capabilities were enough to keep the plant around; who wouldn’t love free fabric and thread for clothing, bedding and more? It only made sense. It just goes to show that our country was partly built on hemp. If the first few presidents were still around, we’re sure they’d love our CBD products just as much as they loved their actual hemp farms.
We think George Washington would declare his love for our CBD tinctures, and since he could never tell a lie, you’d know he was being sincere! We believe John Adams, our second president, would have been deeply excited about our CBD chill shots as he was the first to move into The White House — and we all know how exhausting and overwhelming a move can be. Its supporting ingredients, such as sodium chloride for restoring his body’s electrolytes, would have been a welcome assistance during the major, public transition. Lastly, we know our third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, probably needed some fun in his life. Being a president, diplomat and lawyer, he would have reached for our CBD gummies for his daily pop of flavor and fun, before getting back to helping build the foundation for our country.
As we celebrate our annual Presidents Day, looking back at past presidents can give us a glimpse into the future. With hemp now federally legal, will more people begin growing the plant for themselves and tending to hemp for their own personal uses as a cheap and eco-friendly alternative to store-bought products when permits become more widespread? If we want to follow in the footsteps of those who laid the foundation for our country, then we should all consider cultivating our knowledge of all things hemp!