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Marijuana in the New World The first definite record of the marijuana plant in the New World dates from 1545 AD when the Spaniards introduced it into Chile It has been suggested however that African slaves familiar with marijuana as an intoxicant and medicine brought the seeds with them to Brazil even earlier in the sixteenth century There is no record that the Pilgrims brought marijuana with them to Plymouth but the Jamestown settlers did bring the plant to Virginia in 1611 and cultivated it for its fiber Marijuana was introduced into New England in 1629 From then until after the Civil War the marijuana plant was a major crop in North America and played an important role in both colonial and national economic policy In 1762 Virginia awarded bounties for hemp culture and manufacture and imposed penalties upon those who did not produce it George Washington was growing hemp at Mount Vernon three years later-presumably for its fiber though it has been argued that Washington was also concerned to increase the medicinal or intoxicating potency of his marijuana plants The argument depends on a curious tradition which may or may not be sound that the quality or quantity of marijuana resin hashish is enhanced if the male and female plants are separated before the females are pollinated There can be no doubt that Washington separated the males from the females Two entries in his diary supply the evidence May 12-13 1765 Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp August 7 1765 -began to separate sic the Male from the Female Hemp at Do- rather too late George Andrews has argued in The Book of Grass An Anthology of Indian Hemp 1967 that Washingtons August 7 diary entry clearly indicates that he was cultivating the plant for medicinal purposes as well as for its fiber - He might have separated the males from the females to get better fiber Andrews concedes-but his phrase rather too
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