(Technically it was hemp, the other variety of the cannabis sativa plant that can’t get you high. But that distinction is usually lost on all the annoying stoners who love to philosophize in college dorms about how legalizing hemp would renew our nation’s agriculture, fix our tax base, and, like, George Washington totally grew it, too. This one’s for them.)
Hemp advocates, who feel that the government has wrongly banned the cultivation of their beloved plant, have a new patron saint: Agriculture Department botanist Lyster Dewey. The Washington Post reports that Dewey tended “Uncle Sam’s hemp farm” on a plot of land called Arlington Farms in Northern Virginia more than 100 years ago. Much of Arlington Farms was appropriated by the War Department in 1940, which started building the Pentagon on the land where Dewey’s hemp once grew.
The Hemp Industries Association plans to start displaying Dewey’s recently-discovered diaries Monday as part of an effort to restore the plant’s good name and, they hope, lead the government to lift the ban. Their strategy is to appeal to people’s patriotism — besides the Pentagon connection, the Post said the association says hemp “was used for ropes on Navy ships and for World War II parachute webbing.”
(It’s also worth noting that this group’s president was one of several people arrested last year for trying to plant hemp seeds on the DEA’s front lawn.)
Hopefully, this newly-uncovered historical factoid will result in a head shop being opened at Ground Zero. Because if there’s one thing soldiers love, it’s patchouli.