The history of hemp in America is long and varied, with the plant playing a significant role in the development of the nation. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both hemp farmers, and the crop was an important part of the early American economy. Today, hemp is making a comeback as a versatile and sustainable crop, with new applications being found all the time. Here’s a look at the history of hemp in America, from its early days to its current resurgence.

George Washington

George Washington was a true pioneer – not just as one of America’s Founding Fathers, but also as an early adopter of hemp technology. As a military commander, he recognized the value of hemp for making rope and sails for his ships. He encouraged American farmers to sow hemp for these purposes, which in turn helped strengthen the United States’ fledgling economy. He realized that the production and use of this strong and versatile material could provide long-term economic benefits – an insight ahead of its time. Hemp was essential in maintaining Washington’s naval dominance on the high seas, allowing him to lead troops efficiently with precision along the ever-changing landscape of the American Revolution.

Thomas Jefferson

The founding father Thomas Jefferson had a lot of interests, one of which was the cultivation of hemp. His enthusiasm for the versatile plant material led him to grow it on his own estate in Virginia; he even tried a variety of hemp strains from other areas. He valued both the fortitude and sturdy character of hemp, believing it could be used to create a range of products including fabrics, paper, medicines and more. It’s remarkable to think that today hemp is becoming increasingly popular with entrepreneurs who see its many potential uses and applications – indeed, you could say Jefferson was ahead of his time!


Abraham Lincoln

For centuries, hemp has been a useful plant in multiple fields and contexts. Of course, it is best recognized for its use as a building material and its medicinal properties, but interestingly enough, it also played an important role during the time of Abraham Lincoln – he may have used hemp oil to fuel the lamps in the White House! This was significant as hemp oil was much like modern-day oil: clean-burning and efficient. Though not necessarily regarded as an impactful cultural event at the time, making this change demonstrated Lincoln’s commitment to sustainability and resourcefulness – no easy feat given the technology available at that time. To this day, more than 150 years later, Abraham Lincoln’s story stands as an example of finding smart solutions to energy problems.


From George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, some of the most influential figures in U.S. history have been associated with hemp in various ways. It was a resource for these great statesmen, used to make rope and sails for their ships, paper and fuel to light their homes. Clearly this versatile plant has had an undeniable impact on American culture over the centuries and continues to be present nationwide today. Hemp may very well be the hidden thread that binds us all together!