The Oct. 30 Community Voices contributor ("Tell McCarthy it's time to end government's failed war on pot," Kris Craig) made some glaring assumptions and mistakes concerning marijuana. According to Craig, George Washington smoked marijuana! So that's the real why a church in Alexandria, Va., and attended by pot farmer Washington is taking down a memorial to the nation's first president.
Actually, our first president, like so many other farmers in that era, grew hemp, which is not marijuana. It is historically recorded that throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses. The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for the making of rope and sail canvas, which were major needs in the age of the sailing ship.
In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing or, as indicated in Mount Vernon records, for use in repairing the large seine fishing nets that Washington used in his fishing operation along the Potomac. Nowhere in any of Washington's diaries did he ever write or insinuate that he used recreational or medicinal marijuana. This myth first sprang up during the early 1970s when a different generation of pot proponents, including the editors of High Times, attempted to use anything and everything they could to justify legalization of marijuana. When this myth was quickly exposed as a highly exaggerated assumption, proponents quietly stopped using such misinformation and untruth in their pro-pot arguments.
Perhaps this Seattle-based software engineer should have consulted Abraham Lincoln first before writing such an unfounded assumption. After all, it was Lincoln who warned, "Don't believe everything you read on the Internet." I concur.
— Tom Alexander, Bakersfield