Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jul 2016
Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Anderson Valley Advertiser
Author: Pebbles Trippet



Fred Gardner's piece, "Honest Abe Didn't Smoke Hemp," was persuasive 
(AVA 7/6/16). Fred critiqued the Cannabis Card, featuring Fred 
Sternkopf's graphic of Lincoln toking on a corned cob pipe, along 
with an unsourced Abe Lincoln quote: "Two of my favorite things are 
sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp and playing my 
Hohner harmonica."

The Cannabis Card summarizes Lincoln's hemp connections. He stepped 
into the Illinois Legislature wearing hemp pants, woven & grown on 
his family farm. He is reputed to have used hemp oil for light to 
read by, including his law books.

In researching further info for the card, I was intrigued to 
repeatedly find the quote about Lincoln 'smoking a pipe of sweet 
hemp' as he played his harmonica. But alas, there was no verifying 
source. I decided to use it anyway and let things fall where they 
may, since there was no opposition. Cannabis Cards, being little 
trading cards, are correctable.

I approached Michael Aldrich, noted scholar and librarian of all 
things hash and hemp. He said, "the jury is out." We talked about 
Hohner Harmonica's denial not necessarily being conclusive, since 
truth about marijuana is routinely suppressed to avoid 'reefer 
madness' association. Who knows what is in their vaults?

One thing I've learned is that a sure way to get feedback is to say 
something that is incorrect. Fred Gardner has proven that adage once 
again. Finding no corroborating evidence, he argues against the quote 
being attributed to Lincoln.

Fred turned to Sidney Blumenthal, author of a new 4-volume Lincoln 
biography, for his opinion. "Apocryphal" was the answer. There was no 
corroboration. It was not consistent with Lincoln's abstemious frame 
of mind, shunning alcohol and drugs all his life.

It is also hard to hide the aroma of "sweet hemp." It would not 
likely go undetected. If it happened, someone would have smelled or 
seen the President partaking in toking.

I appreciate being corrected. I've spent decades tearing down 
marijuana myths and litigating bad laws; the last thing I want to do 
is perpetuate myths out of ignorance.Fred Gardner has persuaded us at 
Cannabis Cards to delete the 'sweet hemp' and harmonica quote, unless 
history proves otherwise. There are so many true verifiable unknowns 
to make known; that is where to focus our educational energy.

For instance, did you know Janis Joplin wrote an obscure 
country-blues song called "Mary Jane" early in her career, in which 
in barely veiled lyrics, she describes spending her hard earned money 
in search of "my Mary Jane." Her record handlers essentially banned 
promotion of the song, making it a virtual unknown, available only as 
a British CD on "50 Greatest Hits," but not on any US label. It's not 
hard to imagine that Janis got the message from her record company 
executives to turn away from marijuana and instead embrace alcohol, 
the safer drug, career wise.

Pebbles Trippet

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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom