The Michael Phelps bong "scandal" has brought new attention to marijuana and those who smoke it, especially those we consider to be "role models." So I decided to gather some quotes from some other "rode models" to gain a little perspective on the issue. And whether the issue is smoking cannabis or growing hemp for food/fuel/fiber, some of our greatest role models have a lot to say on the subject. Consider that back in the early days of the U.S., hemp was grown for both industrial and recreational reasons, as you can see in the quotes below. The fact that Olympians, scientists and Presidents have all achieved great success after or while using marijuana destroys the myths of marijuana danger and the "gateway drug" theory. President Obama is still having a hard time quitting tobacco but had no issues quitting marijuana, while good old Honest Abe Lincoln smoked "sweet hemp" during his presidency! So let's let our greatest leaders and role models speak for themselves:
"Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica." - Abraham Lincoln (from a letter written by Lincoln during his presidency to the head of the Hohner Harmonica Company in Germany)
"Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country."
- Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President
"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
- George Washington, U.S. President
"We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption."
- John Adams, U.S. President
"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use... Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana." - Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
"I inhaled frequently. That was the point." - Barack Obama, U.S. President
"The war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our nation's marijuana laws." -Barack Obama, January 2004
"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." - Carl Sagan, renown scientist, astronomer, astrochemist, author and TV host
"Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?" - Henry Ford, whose first Model-T was constructed from hemp fibers and built to run on hemp gasoline
"Prohibition... goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded" -Abraham Lincoln
"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." - Albert Einstein quote on Hemp
"That is not a drug. It's a leaf." - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California
Let's end with a quote from one of the most clueless U.S. Presidents, who evidently thought of himself as an authority on cannabis:
"I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast" - Ronald Reagan
Perhaps with all the evidence coming out that marijuana may help prevent Alzheimer's, it is possible that Reagan's affliction could have been halted or prevented by the herb he so vilified. The powers that maintain the illogical status quo for marijuana's illegality are feeling a seismic shift beneath their skewed logic and paranoid rhetoric. When scientific research is unambiguously and evenly applied to marijuana, the current laws and prohibition cannot and will not stand.
On a side note, sales of the bong that Phelps used are through the roof so in case you're in the market for a Roor Little Sista Ice Masta 3.2, you may have a hard time finding one. However, with marijuana being one of the biggest cash crops in our country, you surely won't have a hard time finding something to smoke in it....
"If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."
- Terence McKenna
A few facts about Hemp, in case you were wondering:
The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross's flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp.
80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc. were made from hemp until the 1820s with the introduction of the cotton gin.
It was legal to pay taxes with Hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s.
Refusing to grow Hemp in America during the 17th and 18th Centuries was against the law. You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769.
Rembrants, Gainsboroughs, Van Goghs as well as most early canvas paintings were principally painted on hemp linen.
In 1916, the U.S. Government Dept. of Agriculture predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down.
For thousands of years, 90% of all ships' sails and rope were made from hemp. The word 'canvas' is Dutch for cannabis.
The hemp plant produces up to four times more cellulose per acre than trees. Hemp cultivation and production do not harm the environment. The USDA Bulletin #404 concluded that Hemp produces 4 times as much pulp with at least 4 to 7 times less pollution.
Hemp fuel is non-toxic, biodegradable and does not contribute to sulfur dioxide air poisoning.
In Feb. 1938, Popular Mechanics called Hemp a 'Billion Dollar Crop.' It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars.
The following information comes directly from the United States Department of Agriculture's 1942 14-minute film encouraging and instructing 'patriotic American farmers' to grow 350,000 acres of hemp each year for the war effort:
'...(When) Grecian temples were new, hemp was already old in the service of mankind. For thousands of years, even then, this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth in China and elsewhere in the East. For centuries prior to about 1850, all the ships that sailed the western seas were rigged with hempen rope and sails. For the sailor, no less than the hangman, hemp was indispensable...
...Now with Philippine and East Indian sources of hemp in the hands of the Japanese...American hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as of our industries...
...the Navy's rapidly dwindling reserves. When that is gone, American hemp will go on duty again; hemp for mooring ships; hemp for tow lines; hemp for tackle and gear; hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore. Just as in the days when Old Ironsides sailed the seas victorious with her hempen shrouds and hempen sails. Hemp for victory!'