Famous comedian and utter genius Bill Hicks once said, “Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit…unnatural?” Whether you agree or not, the fact remains that cannabis is the most popular drug in the world. Sure, it makes you lazy and drops your IQ, but so does the McRib. It deserves consideration as a substance with sincere benefits, and likewise, education is the only remedy for a society that still considers it taboo, or worse, dangerous. So sit back, light up and learn something.
1. George Washington grew pot.
Washington wrote in letters on more than one occasion that he grew marijuana: “Began to separate the male from female plants rather too late … Pulling up the (male) help. Was too late for the blossom hemp by three weeks or a month.” Many today suspect he smoked weed to alleviate the pain caused by his 18th century dentures.
2. The first thing bought and sold online was a bag of weed.
It was a straight up drug deal, actually. In 1971, students at Stanford used Arpanet accounts at the university’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to engage in the world’s first e-commerce transaction.
3. The Jamestown colony in 1619 passed legislation FORCING settlers to grow cannabis.
Hemp was a mainstream cash crop that was used to make rope, fabric and ship sails. It was literally against the law not to grow it. How far we’ve fallen.
4. Carl Sagan wrote about the benefits of getting high under a pseudonym.
The great astrophysicist and pop scientist was a serious stoner. In 1969, he wrote an article that appeared in the 1971 book “Reconsidering Marijuana.” It was revealed after Sagan’s death that he was the one who wrote it.
One of his quotes: “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.”
5. Mexico grows the most weed in the world.
Paraguay is No. 2.
6. Pot plants are so common in Bhutan that they are seen as a pest, and virtually no one smokes them.
They are found along roadsides, in forests and even growing out of cracks in pavement. They are said to be more common than grass. Not that grass, actual grass. Much of the cannabis is used to feed livestock. As a Buddhist nation, one would expect them to indulge.
7. Shakespeare dabbled in the marijuana.
No, really. Researchers at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand tested 24 tobacco pipes from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon property and found eight tested positive for cannabis residue.
8. Suicide rates have dropped in Colorado since its legalization.
According to the study: “Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5% reduction in total suicide rate, an 11% reduction in the suicide rate of age 20-29 males, and a 9% reduction in the suicide rate of 30-39 males.”
9. Eskimos have 100 words for snow; Americans have more than 200 words for marijuana.
Bud. Chiba. Dank. Dope. Ganja. Grass. Herb. Mary Jane. Pot. Reefer. Trees. Weed. Kush. Chronic. Nug. And so on.
10. Remember those Chilean miners who got trapped? Weed was dropped down to them to get them through the turmoil.
And porn. Hey, it helped.
11. Richard Nixon once smuggled three pounds of marijuana for Louis Armstrong.
In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon walked past a sweaty and nervous Louis Armstrong in the airport security line. Armstrong knew his bags were able to be confiscated because customs agents were tipped off about recent drug smugglers passing through. Nixon spotted Ol’ Satchmo and asked him why he would wait in line. He took his suitcases without hesitation and brought them through customs and into America as a kind gesture to a friend. A traveling aide would later tell Nixon what happened.
12. Pot is legal in North Korea.
It isn’t regulated, therefore, there is no law against it.
13. Weed and beer are botanical cousins.
Both hops and cannabis belong to the family Cannabinaceae. It is actually possible to graft hops onto cannabis plants. The prospect of hybrid brews is titillating, isn’t it?
14. The first recorded use of marijuana happened in China more than 4,700 years ago.
Chinese Emperor Shen Nung used it to treat such maladies as gout, malaria and rheumatism. It was banned in 500 B.C. because it was believed to cause young people to disrespect the elderly.
15. Marijuana dispensaries outnumber Starbucks locations in Denver.
Which is a double-win for the hippies.
16. Legalizing pot would generate $8.7 billion in tax revenue annually.
According to a Cato Institute study, taxes similar to those imposed on cigarettes and alcohol would lead to huge economic gains. The money used to regulate pot use and maintain incarceration of offenders ($800,000 a year) would also be saved.
17. The Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp paper.
In 1456, Johannes Gutenberg came out with the printing press. The first book, the Bible – ironically enough – was printed on hemp. Some believe that original drafts of the Declaration of Independence were also written on hemp. Adding credibility to this claim is one of Thomas Jefferson’s famous quotes: “Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”
18. Rastafarians can legally smoke cannabis in Italy because it was ruled by the government to be a sacrament to their religion.
As Italy’s Court of Cassation stated, they can use it “not only as a medical but also as a meditative herb. And, as such it is a possible bearer of the psychophysical state to contemplation and prayer.”
19. In 1977, a plane crashed in Yosemite carrying six tons of weed.
Local rock climbers who converged on the crash salvaged what was on board. When authorities found the plane, the marijuana was nearly gone. The plane came from Colombia.
20. Americans grow 22 million pounds of marijuana each year.
Five states – California, Kentucky, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Washington – grow 80 percent of it. One third is grown indoors. The annual value comes out to $35.8 billion.
21. California growers use 9 percent of the household electricity in the state.
Indoor cultivation also makes up 15 percent of California’s water consumption (bad for the drought, but for a good purpose.)
22. It takes 800 joints to kill a man.
But there is no such thing as a marijuana overdose. Carbon monoxide poisoning would be the cause of death.
23. Marijuana accounts for 48 percent of drug arrests.
In 2012, police arrested one U.S. citizen every 42 seconds according to FBI data. The vast majority (87 percent) constituted possession, not intent to sell.
24. Marijuana milkshakes, called Bhang, are very popular in India.
The Indian subcontinent absolutely loves pot. In fact, the government declared the plant to be entirely harmless in 1894. The British, who were still doing their colonial thing, thought it was driving Indian citizens insane. Anthony Bourdain took a liking to Bhang on one of his trips there.
25. Cameron Diaz bought weed from Snoop Dogg when they were in high school.
This, of course, was before either of them was famous.