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Cannabis: A President's Pastime

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  • Written By: BH
Cannabis: A President's Pastime

Happy President’s Day!


Did you know a lot of former presidents have used or grown Cannabis? Even our founding fathers!

George Washington, the first president, cultivated hemp on his property in Mount Vernon on five separate farms. In the beginning, Washington wanted to grow hemp as a cash crop but later decided to use it for industrial purposes. The fibers from the hemp plants were used to make ropes, sail canvas, and thread into clothing.

Now, 200 years later hemp is still being grown on the Mount Vernon property!

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Hemp is one of the greatest, most important substances of our nation.” Jefferson grew hemp at Monticello, his plantation in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson frequently wrote about hemp in letters. He even developed a threshing machine to make hemp cultivation more efficient.

James Madison, unlike the other founding fathers, states his consumption of hemp. Madison credits the properties of hemp for giving him insight into structuring our democracy.


Our founding fathers were outspoken about hemp and its potential but what about in the 20th century?

Let’s take a look in 2013, Barack Obama was president. His administrative team took the first impactful shift in the liberation of state’s rights around cannabis laws with the release of the Cole Memorandum. The document urged states “not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

Obama also signed the 2014 Farm Bill enabling select American farmers to grow hemp.

The 45th president, Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp, and hemp was explicitly removed from the list of federally banned drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.

The bottom line? Hemp has played a role from the very first president to the present day!


Bourque, Andre F. “A Look at US Presidents and Their Relationship with Cannabis.” Big Buds Magazine, 15 Feb. 2018,

“George Washington Grew Hemp.” George Washington's Mount Vernon,

Jaeger, Kyle. “Hemp Is Officially Legalized with President Trump's Signature on the Farm Bill.” Marijuana Moment, 21 Dec. 2018,

“Monticello.” Some of My Finest Hours Have Been Spent on My Back Veranda, Smoking Hemp... (Spurious Quotation),

Staff, Leafly. “Happy Presidents Day! the Founding Fathers and Cannabis.” Leafly, 28 July 2020,