Top ten hemp legends: Which myths are true -- and which went up in smoke?
The hemp plant, a variety of Cannabis sativa that's the subject of this week's cover story "Green Acres," is steeped in lore. Some hemp legends are true. Others are half-true, and some are completely false. Here, we present ten hemp myths culled from the Internet -- and attempt to separate the fact from the fiction.
10. George Washington grew hemp.
This oft-repeated legend is true; watch a video above of the folks at Mount Vernon, Washington's plantation-turned-museum, talking about the president's hemp farming.
If that's not enough proof, the column The Straight Dope took on a version of this question in 2009, providing a detailed answer and listing its sources.
"Both Washington and Jefferson tried growing hemp on their Virginia farms, with mixed success," The Straight Dope reports. Though he wasn't very successful, "Washington continued to tout the crop after he became president," columnist Cecil Adams adds.
9. Abraham Lincoln used hemp seed oil in his lamps.
While hemp seed oil can be used in lamps, we couldn't find any credible evidence that Lincoln himself used it. We did find references to Lincoln using whale-oil lamps, as well as an article in a White House Historical Association publication explaining that the family quarters of the Lincoln White House boasted indoor plumbing and gas-fed lighting.
Some hemp websites even go so far as to claim that Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation by the light of a hemp seed-oil lamp. As proof, they offer this quote, which has absolutely nothing to do with lamps: "Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica."
But Lincoln may have never said that. Several websites claim our sixteenth president wrote that strange sentence in a letter to the Hohner harmonica folks in 1855. But Hohner, a German company that also makes banjos and accordions, wasn't founded until 1857.
Continue for more hemp legends.