Newt, you have a Ph.D and taught HISTORY at West Georgia College. So either you're a professional liar--like most all American politicians--or you don't deserve that Ph.D.
Let's look at the REAL views and attitudes President Jefferson and Washington had towards that pleasing, and a gift to one's health, marijuana from ACTUAL historians:
American High SocietySeven of our earliest presidents enjoyed marijuana, and to bring it up to date, there's that infamous line from former prez 'Slick Willy' Clinton that he 'smoked marijuana, but didn't inhale.'
The extent of cannabis smoking during the Colonial era is still subject to debate. President George Washington wrote a letter that contained an oblique reference to what may have been hashish. "The artificial preparation of hemp, from Silesia, is really a curiosity." Washington made specific written references to Indian hemp, or cannabis indica, and hoped to "have disseminated the seed to others." His August 7, 1765 diary entry, "began to separate the male from the female (hemp) plants," describes a harvesting technique favored to enhance the potency of smoking cannabis, among other reasons. Hemp farmer Thomas Jefferson and paper maker Ben Franklin were ambassadors to France during the initial surge of the hashish vogue. Their celebrity status and progressive revolutionary image afforded them ample opportunities to try new experiences. Jefferson smuggled Chinese hemp seeds to America and is credited with the phrase in the Declaration of Independence, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Did the Founding Fathers of the United States of America smoke cannabis? Some researchers think so. Dr. Burke, president of the American Historical Reference Society and a consultant for the Smithsonian Institute, counted seven early presidents as cannabis smokers: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce. "Early letters from our founding fathers refer to the pleasures of hemp smoking," said Burke. Pierce, Taylor and Jackson, all military men, smoked it with their troops. Cannabis was twice as popular among American soldiers in the Mexican War as in Vietnam: Pierce wrote to his family that it was "about the only good thing" about that war.
Of course you didn't.
Letter to Dr. James Anderson, May 26, 1794. in Writings of George Washington. Washington DC. vol. 33. p. 384.Sounds like George Washington was into was is now called 'growing sensemilla' pot, since he "began to separate the male from the female (hemp) plants," which increases the potency of the smoke.
"…Washington & Jefferson were said to exchange smoking blends as personal gifts. Washington reportedly preferred a pipe full of ´the leaves of hemp´ to alcohol, & wrote in his diaries that he enjoyed the fragrance of hemp flowers. Madison once remarked that hemp gave him insight to create a new & democratic nation. Monroe, creator of the Monroe Doctrine, began smoking it as Ambassador to France & continued to the age of 73."
"Pot & Presidents." in Green Egg. CA. June 21, 1975
Hemp, a cousin of the marijuana that many people smoke, is a wonder plant that has an endless number of uses and maybe best of all, can actually be grown on farm land that has been depleted from industrial farming. In fact, Hemp will improve the sub-standard soil back to a productive state.
Here's a short list of the many benefits of Hemp:
Hemp does not deplete the soil of nutrients, but rather nourishes it instead. From the USDA’s 1913 Yearbook: “Hemp cultivated for the production of fiber, cut before the seeds are formed, and retted on the land where it has been grown, tends to improve rather than injure the soil. It improves its physical condition, destroys weeds, and does not exhaust its fertility. Kentucky farmers commonly grew hemp in the same fields ten to fifteen years in a row, with the last year being just as productive as the initial one.”Rope made from Hemp was a vital weapon used by Allied navies during WWII and there's too many beneficial uses of Hemp to list, but this Wikipedia link shows many of the ways Hemp is helpful.
Its deep root system prevents soil erosion. Approximately 6 pounds of topsoil washes away into rivers and oceans for every pound of food produced in the United States alone.
Hemp yields four times more fiber per acre than trees do. Although hemp can greatly reduce the need to cut down trees, it cannot replace forests. Both are needed. Forests worldwide are being cut down at a faster rate than they can regrow, including ancient forests whose gifts cannot be recovered.
Hemp absorbs heavy-metal contamination from the air and the soil and can help clean up both if hemp were allowed to be planted in the US. While certain toxic pesticides are banned in the US, they are still being sold to other countries by American companies. Then, these very same chemicals are returned to the American food supply on imports that have been sprayed with these banned chemicals.
With growth averaging 15 feet in 100 days, hemp provides its own mulch, shades out weeds, and reduces or eliminates the use of costly herbicides. After which, the field is virtually weed-free, nourished, and ready for the next crop. Because of this enrichment, farmers report an increase in yields and size of crops grown after a planting of hemp.
Hemp crops are more versatile than soybeans, cotton, and the Douglas fir combined. Its products are also just as interchangeable with those made from cotton, timber, and petroleum.
As for marijuana being used for recreational purposes, it also gives relief to many suffering (Historical usage of medical marijuana goes back at least 5,000 years) from a variety of medical ailments with hardly any side effects, other than the local thug cops busting down your door at 3 am to arrest you in the privacy of your own home for victimless crime.
Here's a small sampling of the ways medical marijuana has and can be used to help people suffering in pain from a variety of ailments:
Preliminary findings indicate that cannabis-based drugs could prove useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, fibromyalgia, and related conditions.But don't hold your breath--unless you lungs are filled with some sweet tasting smoke--hoping that the tyrants ruling the USA will legalize medical marijuana on a national level.
Other studies state that cannabis or cannabinoids may be useful in treating alcohol abuse, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, collagen-induced arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bipolar disorder, colorectal cancer, HIV-Associated Sensory Neuropathy depression, dystonia, epilepsy, digestive diseases, gliomas, hepatitis C, Huntington's disease, leukemia, skin tumors, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Parkinson's disease, pruritus, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psoriasis, sickle-cell disease, sleep apnea, and anorexia nervosa.
For one thing, there's too much money involved. Imagine the sad faces on the boards of the Big Pharmaceutical corporations if it was legalized and all their profits made from selling toxic drugs that they claim cure this or that disease, but have so many negative side effects, that it's more like a form of Russian Roulette taking FDA approved meds.
Remember VIOXX, the FDA anti-arthritic drug? A few of its side effects were inducing heart attacks, destroying your stomach's lining and causing spontaneous GI tract bleeding, any of which could cause death.
VIOXX killed over 50,000 Americans and put several hundred thousand more in hospitals before it was finally taken off the market, but not before it made Merck, the drug company producing this poison, billions in profits.
The "War against Drugs," is actually a war against civil liberties, with the Bill of Rights smashing DEA thugs getting billions each year to ruin American's lives who are minding their own business.
The DEA is nothing more than a government sanctioned Goon Squad, equipped with enough firepower to invade small nations:
DEA agents' primary service weapons are the Glock 22 and Glock 23 in .40 S&W caliber ammunition, DEA agents can also qualify to use the Glock 27 and SIG Pro in .40 S&W. They also have the option of using the newly appointed Smith & Wesson M&P series pistol. H&K UMP40 in .40 S&W is the standard SMG. Shotguns such as the Remington 870 are used. They use assault rifles like Rock River Arms CAR-A4 DEA Carbine. In June 11th 2009, DEA made a contract with LWRC rifle company and DEA agents are now using their new LWRCI M6A2 Carbines as their new personal duty service rifle. DEA Special Agents (SA's) may also qualify with their own personally-owned handguns. Certain handguns are allowed to be used with permission from the DEA Firearms office in Quantico, VA. DEA SA's are required to qualify on all assigned weapons quarterly.Feel safer now that you know the Gestapo like DEA carries and uses the H&K UMP40, a submachine gun that is capable of firing 650 rounds a minute?
So Newt, next time you open your mouth and tell some more lies, at least do some research, 'professor' and make your lies believable.
Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf"
The coughing at the beginning of Sweet Leaf is Tony Iommi right after he took a drag on a joint.
Won't you listen?
When I first met you, didn't realize
I can't forget you or your surprise
You introduced me to my mind
And left me wanting you and your kind
I love you. Oh you know it.
My life was empty forever on a down
Until you took me, showed me around
My life is free now, my life is clear
I love you sweet leaf - though you can't hear,
Come on now - try it out
Straight people don't know what you're about
They put you down and shut you out
You gave to me a new belief
And soon the world will love you sweet leaf.