Quick History of Marijuana - "evil weed" in American History
CANNABIS IN THE COLONIES
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp and puzzled over the best ways to process it for clothing and rope.
Indeed, cannabis has been grown in America since soon after the British arrived. In 1619 the Crown ordered the colonists at Jamestown to grow hemp to satisfy England's incessant demand for maritime ropes, Wayne State University professor Ernest Abel wrote in "Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years."
Hemp became more important to the colonies as New England's own shipping industry developed, and homespun hemp helped clothe American soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Some colonies offered farmers "bounties" for growing it.
"We have manufactured within our families the most necessary articles of clothing," Jefferson said in "Notes on the State of Virginia." ''Those of wool, flax and hemp are very coarse, unsightly, and unpleasant."
Jefferson went on to invent a device fo