Ask a Stoner: What's your favorite music to smoke to?
Dear Stoner: I recently read some quote from Thomas Jefferson about smoking bowls on his patio. Did our Founding Fathers actually smoke the hemp they were growing?
Dear Buff: The quote that is falsely attributed to T.J. — "Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see" — actually can't be sourced anywhere in any of his writings, all of which are extensively documented. Yes, Washington and pretty much every other Founding Father, including Andrew Jackson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Franklin Pierce, grew it. But that doesn't mean they smoked it.
All signs point to the cannabis being cultivated for industrial purposes. Reports from the era show that American hemp wasn't up to snuff for international exportation, so it was mostly used domestically — namely, as clothes for slaves. They also used it for paper, notably the drafts of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The actual documents are written on vellum.
But just because they probably didn't smoke it doesn't mean they weren't into the plant. Washington made extensive notes about "India hemp" and even a few scribbles about separating female from male plants — a move some stoners have pointed to as indication that he was cultivating sticky green sinsemilla. Sadly, that wasn't the case. Instead, Washington divided his plants between male and female to differentiate between plants grown for seed stock and those grown for fiber stock. He's also quoted prophetically as saying, "Make the most of the Indian hemp seed; sow it everywhere." The reality is that it was an instruction to his gardener to plant hemp and sainfoin seeds all over Washington's estate.
That said, a small part of us would like to think that at least one of our Founding Fathers threw an extra-stinky bud in a corncob pipe for a taster now and then.
Dear Stoner: What's your favorite music to get nice and baked with?
Dear Cliff: I'm sure you're expecting me to say stereotypical reggae like Bob Marley or hippie crap like the Grateful Dead or some other hippie noodle-wank band like Phish. But no.
The best music to get really, really toasted to? Yacht rock like late-'70s Hall and Oates, Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. The smoother the music on the hi-fi, the smoother your buzz will be. Trust me on this one: John Oates is a genius.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.