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A painting of a man with white hair wearing a white ruffled shirt and dark coat
First President of the United States George Washington, one of the Founding Fathers known to have grown hemp prior to prohibition

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants with species that have long been used for fiber (hemp), for medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug. Industrial hemp products are made from cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber and minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive molecule that produces the "high" associated with marijuana. For more than half of the history of the United States cannabis was used primarily for industrial purposes, and at times was even required by law to be grown out of "strategic necessity". Domestic production continued until after the Civil War, while marijuana remained a common ingredient in medicines up to the 20th century. Following immigration caused by the Mexican Revolution, recreational use of marijuana became widespread, resulting in political pressure to enact a federal ban of cannabis. While the attitude of the general public towards marijuana has changed throughout the history of the nation, today cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and possession is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction.

Prior to prohibition, U.S. politicians known for growing cannabis include some of the nation's Founding Fathers and Presidents. Politicians that have admitted to recreational use following prohibition include mayors, Governors, members of the House of Representatives, Senators, and Presidents.

Contents

Pre-prohibition

First cultivated more than 5,000 years ago, marijuana is one of the oldest agricultural commodities not grown for food, as its stalks contain fibers that can be used for industrial purposes.[1][2] The psychoactive effects of cannabis were first recorded by the Emperor of China Shennong in the 28th century BC.[1] The first American law concerning cannabis was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1619, which required every household to grow hemp since it was viewed as a "strategic necessity". Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other colonies later allowed hemp to be used as legal tender, increasing production by farmers. Founding Fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, grew hemp, though there is no evidence that they knew of the plant's psychoactive properties.[3]

Domestic production of hemp continued until the Civil War, when Russia began importing hemp products.[3] Hinting at recreational use of cannabis, Abraham Lincoln admitted in a letter written during his presidency that one of his "favorite things" was "sitting on [his] front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp".[4] Marijuana became a common ingredient in medicine during the second half of the 19th century, sold openly in pharmacies as cures for migraines, rheumatism and insomnia. It was not until the Mexican Revolution, when waves of Mexican immigrants reached the American Southwest, that marijuana was viewed in a negative manner. Prejudices towards the immigrants were extended to their "traditional source of intoxication: smoking marijuana." Once marijuana reached New Orleans, newspapers associated the drug with "African Americans, jazz musicians, prostitutes, and under world whites."[3] El Paso enacted a local ordinance banning the sale or possession of marijuana in 1914, and by 1931 the drug was illegal in 29 U.S. states.[5]

Prior to prohibition, U.S. politicians known for growing cannabis include some of the nation's Founding Fathers and Presidents.

Name Lifetime Highest position Party Ref.
Franklin, BenjaminBenjamin Franklin 1706–1790 President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania Independent [6]
Jackson, AndrewAndrew Jackson 1767–1845 President of the United States Democratic [7]
Jefferson, ThomasThomas Jefferson 1743–1826 President of the United States Democratic-Republican [8]
Lincoln, AbrahamAbraham Lincoln 1809–1865 President of the United States Republican[I] [4]
Madison, JamesJames Madison 1751–1836 President of the United States Democratic-Republican [2]
Monroe, JamesJames Monroe 1758–1831 President of the United States Democratic-Republican [7]
Pierce, FranklinFranklin Pierce 1804–1869 President of the United States Democratic [7]
Taylor, ZacharyZachary Taylor 1784–1850 President of the United States Whig [7]
Washington, GeorgeGeorge Washington 1732–1799 President of the United States Independent [8]
Parties

      Democratic-Republican       Whig       Democratic       Republican       Independent

Post-prohibition

In the U.S., cannabis was initially grown for industrial reasons, though recreational use spread quickly during the 20th century. Harry J. Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, responded to political pressure to ban marijuana at a nationwide level. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 created an expensive excise tax, and included penalty provisions and elaborate rules of enforcement to which marijuana, cannabis, or hemp handlers were subject. Mandatory sentencing and increased punishment were enacted when the United States Congress passed the Boggs Act of 1952 and the Narcotics Control Act of 1956.[9]

During the counterculture of the 1960s, attitudes towards marijuana and drug abuse policy changed as use became widespread among "white middle-class college students".[10] In Leary v. United States (1969), the Supreme Court held the Marihuana Tax Act to be unconstitutional since it violated the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution privilege against self-incrimination. In response, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which repealed the Marihuana Tax Act.[11] In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse concluded that marijuana should be decriminalized, but that public use and driving while intoxicated should remain illegal. By the end of the decade, several states had decriminalized the drug, while many others weakened their laws against cannabis use.

However, a wave of conservatism during the 1980s allowed President Ronald Reagan to accelerate the War on Drugs during his presidency, prompting anti-drug campaigns such as the "Just Say No" campaign of First Lady Nancy Reagan. Federal penalties for cultivation, possession, or transfer of marijuana were increased by the Comprehensive Crime Control Act (1984), the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (1986), and the Anti-Drug Abuse Amendment Act (1988).[12] Since California voters passed the Proposition 215 in 1996, which legalized medical cannabis, several states have followed suit. However, United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative (2001) rejected the common-law medical necessity defense to crimes enacted under the Controlled Substances Act because Congress concluded that cannabis has "no currently accepted medical use", and Gonzales v. Raich (2005) concluded that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution allowed the federal government to ban the use of cannabis, including medical use. Today, cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and possession is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction.[13]

Politicians that have admitted to recreational use following prohibition include mayors, Governors, members of the House of Representatives, Senators, and Presidents.

Name Lifetime Highest position Party Ref.
Babbitt, BruceBruce Babbitt b. 1938 Secretary of the Interior Democratic [14]
Bloomberg, MichaelMichael Bloomberg b. 1942 Mayor of New York City Independent [15]
Bradley, BillBill Bradley b. 1943 Senator from New Jersey Democratic [16]
Cellucci, PaulPaul Cellucci b. 1948 Governor of Massachusetts Republican [17]
Chafee, LincolnLincoln Chafee b. 1953 Senator from Rhode Island Republican [18]
Chiles, LawtonLawton Chiles 1930–1998 Senator from Florida Democratic [19]
Clinton, BillBill Clinton b. 1946 President of the United States Democratic [20]
Cohen, SteveSteve Cohen b. 1949 Member of the House of Representatives Democratic [21]
Cuomo, AndrewAndrew Cuomo b. 1957 New York State Attorney General Democratic [22]
Dean, HowardHoward Dean b. 1948 Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Democratic [23]
DeNucci, JosephJoseph DeNucci b. 1939 Massachusetts Auditor Democratic [17]
Donohue, MaryMary Donohue b. ? Lieutenant Governor of New York Republican [24]
Edwards, JohnJohn Edwards b. 1953 Senator from North Carolina Democratic [23]
Gingrich, NewtNewt Gingrich b. 1943 Speaker of the House of Representatives Republican [14]
Gore, AlAl Gore b. 1948 Vice President of the United States Democratic [25]
Johnson, Gary E.Gary E. Johnson b. 1953 Governor of New Mexico Republican [26]
Kennedy II, Joseph PatrickJoseph Patrick Kennedy II b. 1952 Member of the House of Representatives Democratic [17]
Kerry, JohnJohn Kerry b. 1943 Senator from Massachusetts Democratic [23]
Koch, EdEd Koch b. 1924 Member of the House of Representatives Democratic [27]
Mack III, ConnieConnie Mack III b. 1940 Senator from Florida Republican [19]
McSlarrow, Kyle E.Kyle E. McSlarrow b. 1960 Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy Republican [28]
Miller, JohnJohn Miller b. 1938 Member of the House of Representatives Republican [29]
Molinari, SusanSusan Molinari b. 1958 Member of the House of Representatives Republican [30]
Moran, JimJim Moran b. 1945 Member of the House of Representatives Democratic [28]
Murphy, EvelynEvelyn Murphy b. 1940 Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Democratic [17]
Neal, RichardRichard Neal b. 1949 Member of the House of Representatives Democratic [17]
Obama, BarackBarack Obama b. 1961 President of the United States Democratic [31]
Palin, SarahSarah Palin b. 1964 Governor of Alaska Republican [32]
Pataki, GeorgeGeorge Pataki b. 1945 Governor of New York Republican [22]
Paterson, DavidDavid Paterson b. 1954 Governor of New York Democratic [33]
Pattison, Edward W.Edward W. Pattison 1932–1990 Member of the House of Representatives Democratic [34]
Pell, ClaiborneClaiborne Pell 1918–2009 Senator from Rhode Island Democratic [14]
Schwarzenegger, ArnoldArnold Schwarzenegger b. 1947 Governor of California Republican [35]
Scranton, WilliamWilliam Scranton b. 1917 Ambassador to the United Nations Republican [36]
Thompson, BillBill Thompson b. 1953 New York City Comptroller Democratic [37]
Torkildsen, Peter G.Peter G. Torkildsen b. 1958 Member of the House of Representatives Republican [17]
Ventura, JesseJesse Ventura b. 1951 Governor of Minnesota Independent [38]
Parties

      Democratic       Republican       Independent

See also

Notes

^[I]  Lincoln was affiliated with the Whig Party during 1832–1854, the Republican Party during 1854–1864, and the National Union Party during 1864–1865.

References

General
Specific
  1. ^ a b Schlosser 2003, p. 16
  2. ^ a b Wasserman, Harvey (January 29, 2009). "This President's Day, Remember that George Washington Raised Hemp & Probably Smoked it". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/this-presidents-day-remem_b_162088.html. Retrieved November 21, 2009.  
  3. ^ a b c Schlosser 2003, p. 19
  4. ^ a b Gennet, Robbie (February 5, 2009). "On Role Models and their Bongs". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robbie-gennet/on-role-models-and-their_b_164387.html. Retrieved November 21, 2009.  
  5. ^ Schlosser 2003, pp. 19–20
  6. ^ Kelly, Annie (September 27, 2006). "Hemp is at hand". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/sep/27/society.conservationandendangeredspecies. Retrieved November 21, 2009.  
  7. ^ a b c d Deitch 2003, pp. 26–27
  8. ^ a b Wren, Christopher (April 1, 1999). "U.S. Farmers Covet a Forbidden Crop". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/04/01/us/us-farmers-covet-a-forbidden-crop.html. Retrieved November 21, 2009.  
  9. ^ Schlosser 2003, p. 21
  10. ^ Schlosser 2003, p. 22
  11. ^ Pub. L. No. 91–513, 84 Stat. 1236 (October 27, 1973).
  12. ^ Schlosser 2003, p. 25
  13. ^ Tschorn, Adam (August 30, 2009). "Marijuana's new high life". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. http://www.latimes.com/features/image/la-ig-potculture30-2009aug30,0,669328.story. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  14. ^ a b c "Gore and Babbitt also confess they smoked marijuana". The Gainesville Sun. The New York Times Company. November 8, 1987. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19871108&id=37ARAAAAIBAJ&sjid=DeoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4751,2291587. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  15. ^ "NY Mayor appears in marijuana ads". BBC News. April 9, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1918750.stm. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  16. ^ Barabak, Mark (August 21, 1999). "To Err, Bush May Find in the '90s, Is to Be Forgiven". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. p. 2. http://articles.latimes.com/1999/aug/21/news/mn-2246?pg=2. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Several politicians admit marijuana use". The Register-Guard. Guard Publishing. March 5, 1990. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19900305&id=U3AVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=nuoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5534,1231472. Retrieved November 6, 2009.  
  18. ^ Ayres, B. Drummond (August 25, 1999). "Political Briefing; In Rhode Island, A Decision to Tell All". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/08/25/us/political-briefing-in-rhode-island-a-decision-to-tell-all.html. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  19. ^ a b "Chiles follows Mack, admits smoking pot". The Gainesville Sun. The New York Times Company. November 10, 1987. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19871110&id=4bARAAAAIBAJ&sjid=DeoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6442,2589203. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  20. ^ "Clinton Tried Marijuana as a Student, He Says". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. March 30, 1992. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/30/news/30iht-bill_1.html. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  21. ^ Walker, Henry (October 2, 1997). "Desperately Seeking the News". Nashville Scene. Village Voice Media. p. 1. http://www.nashvillescene.com/1997-10-02/stories/desperately-seeking-the-news/. Retrieved January 14, 2010.  
  22. ^ a b Dewan, Shaila (August 6, 2002). "Cuomo Urges Repeal of Rockefeller Drug Laws and Offers New Sentencing Plan". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/06/nyregion/cuomo-urges-repeal-of-rockefeller-drug-laws-and-offers-new-sentencing-plan.html. Retrieved November 6, 2009.  
  23. ^ a b c Smith, Jordan (November 14, 2003). "Dems on Drugs: Any Questions?". The Austin Chronicle. Austin Chronicle Corporation. http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A186487. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  24. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (July 30, 1998). "Cheering for George Mary Donohue takes spotlight to win place in Pataki's shadow". Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/1998/07/30/1998-07-30_cheering_for_george_mary_don.html. Retrieved November 6, 2009.  
  25. ^ Ellison, Michael (February 7, 2000). "Gore was avid pot smoker - book". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/feb/07/uselections2000.usa. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  26. ^ "Should the Government Legalize Drugs?". CNN. February 22, 2001. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0102/22/tsr.00.html. Retrieved November 6, 2009.  
  27. ^ "Mayor Koch admits he's tried marijuana". Boca Raton News. South Florida Media Company. November 13, 1980. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1291&dat=19801113&id=f9oPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Z40DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6784,2043510. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  28. ^ a b "In Virginia, a Child's Illness Quiets a Congressional Campaign". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. August 29, 1994. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/29/us/in-virginia-a-child-s-illness-quiets-a-congressional-campaign.html. Retrieved November 6, 2009.  
  29. ^ Blumenthal, Les (November 17, 1987). "Only one area lawmaker admits pot use". The Spokesman-Review. Cowles Publishing Company. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wh4SAAAAIBAJ&sjid=C_ADAAAAIBAJ&pg=5831,536872&dq=politician+admits+marijuana+use&hl=en. Retrieved December 1, 2009.  
  30. ^ "Molinari Says Yes (Or No?), She Inhaled". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. August 9, 1996. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/09/nyregion/molinari-says-yes-or-no-she-inhaled.html. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  31. ^ Seelye, Katharine (October 24, 2006). "Barack Obama, asked about drug history, admits he inhaled". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/24/world/americas/24iht-dems.3272493.html. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  32. ^ Lerer, Lisa (August 29, 2008). "Palin: She Inhaled". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/29/politics/politico/thecrypt/main4397109.shtml?weed. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  33. ^ "David Paterson Admits Using Cocaine, Marijuana In His 20s". The Huffington Post. March 24, 2008. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/24/david-paterson-admits-usi_n_93218.html. Retrieved November 6, 2009.  
  34. ^ "Politician Fights Pot Charge". Star-Banner. The New York Times Company. October 4, 1978. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XugTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wgUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6799,1387703&dq=politician+marijuana+use&hl=en. Retrieved December 1, 2009.  
  35. ^ "Schwarzenegger: Calif. needs pot debate". MSNBC. May 6, 2009. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30587296/. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  36. ^ "Getting high on marijuana issue". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Block Communications. November 28, 1987. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=MFINAAAAIBAJ&sjid=620DAAAAIBAJ&pg=4498,10503635&dq=william-scranton+marijuana+use&hl=en. Retrieved December 1, 2009.  
  37. ^ Lisberg, Adam (August 27, 2009). "Bill Thompson and Tony Avella square off, gang up on Mayor Bloomberg in 1st mayoral debate". Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election_2009/2009/08/27/2009-08-27_debaters_take_aim_at_mike_thompson_and_avella_square_off_in_1st_mayoral_tv_conte.html. Retrieved September 30, 2009.  
  38. ^ "Heavyweight Guv Wins Plaudits". CBS News. July 7, 1999. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1999/07/01/sunday/main52654.shtml. Retrieved November 21, 2009.  







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