The Russ Belville Show
Share this:
Pin It

Will old-timey 1920’s newsprint convince you?

Throughout the internet there are those among us who try to bolster the case for marijuana legalization by quoting the Founding Fathers.  While it is true that many of our founders were colonial farmers who grew hemp among their crops, the evidence for use of cannabis for smoking like it is used today is scant.  Hashish was known, of course, and Jefferson and Franklin, among others, were known to visit Europe and partake in the party scene of the day.  Later 19th century presidents like Madison and Monroe admitted smoking hemp or hashish, while Jackson, Taylor, and Pierce were known to have smoked Mexican marihuana while fighting alongside their troops in the Southwest.

It was Col. John E. Goodwin who fabricated the Lincoln Prohibition quote, in the Conservatory with the Candle Stick!

There are plenty of legitimate quotes from our Founding Fathers on the resourcefulness of hemp and perhaps evidence they had smoked it.  George Washington wrote “Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere!”  He also remarked about “The artificial preparation of hemp, from Silesia, is really a curiosity,” which could be about hashish from an area now in Poland.  He famously “…began to separate the male from the female (hemp) plants,” which may have been done to get females for smoking.  John Adams wrote, “We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.”  Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.”

But the following three quotes have been debunked so thoroughly that it destroys the credibility of any pro-pot reformer who still uses them.  So potheads, please stop using them!

FAKE: “Some of my finest hours have been spent sitting on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.” – Thomas Jefferson

I first saw this one appear on a title card of the DVD Totally Baked.  So I went to find the attribution for it, because Jefferson is one of the most prolific of the Founders and his every letter and essay and book has been archived and studied and cataloged.  Yet this “veranda” quote is nowhere to be found (

FAKE: “Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.” – Abraham Lincoln

This Honest Abe quote claims to be from a letter dated 1855 found at the German harmonica manufacturer’s museum.  That means Abe Lincoln or Hohner had a time machine, because Hohner didn’t ship harmonicas from Germany to the United States until 1857.  Plus, the Hohner Museum had no record of any such letter (

FAKE: “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

This was a fabrication created by the former Mayor of Atlanta in 1922 during the campaigns for and against alcohol prohibition in Georgia.  The Mayor, campaigning for the “wets” (drinkers), faked the quote to win the black vote (

Share this:
Pin It

Print-friendly version of the whole post

38 Comments for this entry

  • berniemakaveli says:

    During the American Civil War Matthias Hohner gave harmonicas to family members in the United States who in turn gave them to the fighting soldiers.” Per Wikipedia, so it’s far more than fresible Lincoln had one when the quote was dated. You really think with how ignorant America is on their pot stance that they wouldn’t try and erase physical evidence that arguably their greatest president loved to smoke the wonderful herb? Keep dreaming. America’s greatest president smoked marijuana. Deal with it 🙂

    • Mark Elron says:

      Gosh no, that was “hemp,” which the DEA says is the same thing as marijuana…because it IS…and Reefer Madness was put on hold during WWII so the Hemp For Victory campaign wouldn’t throw farmers in jail…then they had to burn the crops at the end of the war…and smoke all the rope, right? “They walked around the wheel house once….” -Jamie Brockett; The Legend of The Titanic.

    • Fred says:

      It’s a fictitious quote. Deal with it.

      • Jason Stainkamp says:

        it is probably real because whether or not the company shipped harmonicas is irrelevant, the pres had the money and power to go out and buy one himself.

        if you have big money you can order anything from anyone…some musicians have called a company to courier a specific product and because the company recognizes the name, they send it over no problem. not to say lincoln was a musician, but come on ceo’s of companies had to know presidents some how.

    • Jason Stainkamp says:

      Also not to mention the other presidents have been known to visit other countries…Lincoln may have just as well bought one directly…and lets not for get the anti-marijuana campaign is largely corporate.

      • erik says:

        He wasn’t president in 1855, the year the letter was dated, and the Hohner Co. DIDN’T EXIST . He held no elected office that year. So please explain how he was able to get one.

    • R.C. says:

      The Hohner Harmonica company was founded in 1857–these harmonicas could not have been given to Americans during the American Civil War!

    • salvatore gizzo says:

      the civil war didn’t start until 1860 and if my math is correct that is after the quote was supposedly wrote. Plus that would just validate that they didn’t start shipping them to the us until after 1857

    • erik says:

      Really? He handed them out during the Civil War? And Lincoln’s alleged quote was from 1855? Another indictment of the American education system. smh

  • Violet Ghanazzi says:

    It is very likely that those who oppose smoking hemp so strongly have never, ever, smoked it, and so became arbitrary and capricious against its use, blindly, and as many of them exclaimed having “zero tolerance” for smokers, it created guilt and shame for those who enjoy it. however faulty and illogical humans against it are dying out and new generations shall be seen on Capitol Hill grounds placidly smoking hemp ‘blunts’ on the Capitol’s veranda, looking out as far as their eyes can see..!!! go ahead illogical hardliners: please die soon!!!! let the world follow Lennon and Morley’s doctrines for world peace… the Caribbean people who oppose its use in Miami are fortunately dying out. be aware those same folks were subjected to a 50 years-plus dictator. they could never get rid of him, stupidly and cowardly picking on Americans instead, rather than fix their own mess on that island..! bunch of stupid people who were originally all born in “San Nicolas Del Peladero”. on that bloody isle.. who come on local Radio Mambi to utter stupid opinions through their vast ignorance. ha ha ha, most of those folks are in their late eighties..! please die, die, die… SOON! very, very, soon! thank you.

  • Rob Stray says:

    @ae4da1f050d91511771f3f1331c6ea57:disqus – The War Betwen the States wasn’t fought until 1861-1865, the quote was supposedly quoted in 1855, so the harmonicas wouldn’t be around for another 6 years. Still, as far as Thomas jefferson is concerned, as genius as the man wasi t is highly unlikely that with as much horticultural knowledge that he had that he was unaware of the properties of the female cannabis planet, especially since hashish was well known by this time, and TJ and many of the others were known to be partiers in the european social scene of the day…so ya, probably got baked once or twice…

    • Sutton Bull says:

      Just because Hohner didn’t ship harmonicas until later does not mean that this is the only means by which Abe could have had one. The author of this websites argument for the Lincoln quote proves NOTHING.

      • Oliver Steinberg says:

        Don’t cling to discredited mythology. Radical Russ is correct; there are plenty of good debunking sources on the internet which establish that he is correct. We don’t need to repeat falsehoods in order to support our cause. in fact, we weaken our side’s arguments when we do that. I have been a public advocate for ending prohibition and legalizing cannabis (and everything else) since 1968; I have spent thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of hours, and four decades of my life in this cause. There are no shortcuts to freedom, and if we expect to win we should expect to have to work to get there.

        But we’re part of a great historic tradition of freedom fighters, and there plenty of authentic quotations we can invoke–inspiring words, fiery rhetoric, brilliant epigrams, incisive witticisms, keen satires–like Mark Twain’s “Nothing so needs reforming as other peoples’ habits.”

        Or what Thomas Jefferson really DID say: “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others,” and “The greatest service that can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to its culture,” and “A single zealot may commence persecution, and better men be his victims.” Read T.J.’s “Scheme for a system of agricultural societies:” —-“. . . the cultivation of our primary staples of wheat, tobacco, and hemp, for market.” He recommended replacing tobacco cultivation with hemp and flax. Thomas Paine, a friend of Jefferson and ardent patriot, mentioned hemp in his pamphlet “Common Sense,” as an essential naval resource: “Hemp flourishes even to rankness, so that we need not want cordage.”
        WE DON’T NEED TO INVENT QUOTES or to use fake ones. Yes, I myself used the quote attributed to Lincoln, but my brother knew Abe’s speeches better than I, and he questioned it; then Chris Wright researched it BEFORE THE INTERNET and he found out from the nation’s top Lincoln scholars that the quote was not authentic. So, we simply use it without saying it was Lincoln’s–it stands up just fine on its own strength and logic.
        Want real quotations? Look for them. How about John Adams, Founding Father and second President: “Sumptuary laws bring all laws into contempt because they are never obeyed.” English philosopher John Stuart Mill: “Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
        There are many more. Our enemies say that “marijuana makes people lazy and stupid.” Don’t prove them right. Take responsibility for what you think and say and do; be honest and accurate.

        I am a little dismayed that so many commenters want to cling to their delusions and insist on believing misinformation . . . but then, that’s all too common a trait in human nature, as Josh Billings once put it: “The trouble with most folks isn’t so much their ignorance, as knowing so many things that ain’t so.”
        By the way, you may have heard that Josh Billings quote attributed to Mark Twain. Probably the three persons who are most often quoted [in English and American culture] as saying things that they didn’t say, or that someone else actually said or wrote, are Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Twain.

        • tg says:

          good try man but your also fooled by all of what you think and know needs proof, proof from the people who dont want you to know what is real or false, of course they would delet or hide such truths from people we would all listen to [lincon].

    • JHK2012 says:

      you would have to get a little high to declare war on the largest empire on Earth and expect to win!!

      • Oliver Steinberg says:

        Or as I once heard the Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton say, “I am too proletarian-intoxicated to be astronomically intimidated! You can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill the revolution!” . . . . within two months, the police murdered him in his sleep.

    • Maliheim says:

      As for you….

      Asians were off banging rudimentary harmonicas together (At roughly 3000 B.C.), the rest of the world didn’t really have a clue until centuries later.

      Europe finally got on the scene at or about 1822, when a German teenager made something that looked pretty much like a harmonica, but it only produced music when you blow in it, and not when you draw air back through.

      In 1857, another German named Matthias Hohner, who was a (disgruntled, most likely) clock maker from the Black Forest (all those cuckoo clocks are bound to drive you crazy eventually), invented the modern-day harmonica, which featured the dual-action reeds that earlier models lacked.

      So he could have had one before 1855 especially since 1861 ( When you said they would be around ) isn’t even a date that were introduced in any way shape or form.

      • According to reps from the Hohner Museum, America didn’t start importing those harmonicas until 1861. I suppose Lincoln might have had someone go to Germany and fetch him one of Hohner’s early harps while he was denouncing the Dred Scott decision, but I highly doubt it.

  • James Smith says:

    some of the greatest minds in the history of our species smoked pot, minds that changed the destiny of human kind

  • Ollie Steinberg says:

    There is no need to use inauthentic sources or inaccurate information to promote our cause, and there is a definite need to try to be correct and truthful in our advocacy. We don’t want to be the mirror image of the prohibitionists with their reefer madness lies. If the on-looker, the bystander, the “audience” so to speak, begins to see that we speak the truth and the other side lies, then it works in our favor. Of course, the spurious “prohibition” quote (that Lincoln didn’t say) is still an excellent statement of the issue and we should use it–only don’t claim that Old Abe said it. Whenever you come across information you intend to repeat, try to verify it first. A little skepticism early in the process can save embarrassment later.

  • Maliheim says:

    I absolutely love when I run into people trying to disprove truths because they don’t agree with something. Why don’t you check their Harvest notes? They specifically separated seeds that they found to be more potent for recreational use. There is not a source for every single quote we have from past generations. Things are lost, things are destroyed, and some things withstand the test of time through words alone. Of course you will probably aim to call me a liar, or a fool. That is to be expected of people like you. After all you are a “radical” and you have an entire section of your website dedicated to making sure everyone knows that this is “fake.” That kind of bigotry is irreversible.

    • I have no idea what you are talking about, but calling me a bigot won’t make you any friends here. We can suppose, guess, infer, and assume that when the Founders were separating plants and seeds, they did so seeking psychoactive benefits. But that separation may also have existed to remove the inferior (psychoactive) hemp plants from the preferred strong fiber hemp plants. What we don’t have, and what my article is trying to illuminate, is written proof from the 18th century along the lines of “Today we separated out the female plants so we could harvest them for killer buds to get high on!”

      Same with the quotes – Jefferson and Lincoln are two of the humans with the most biographers studying their lives, speeches, and written works. Nothing in Jefferson’s record shows he uttered the “back veranda” quote, and Lincoln’s “prohibition temperance” quote is proven to be a fake by Georgia wets.

  • HempShare says:

    One only need to understand our Ancestors had full consciousness and technology has usurped this from “modern man” to realize THC is indeed the de-programmer. We are nearly assimilated into the borg.

  • DdC222 says:

    Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by The Russ Belville Show.

  • DdC222 says:

    Censorship russ? That is how you win debates?

  • Angeni Kaya says:

    To think we know everything that happened centuries ago would be arrogant on our part…But America has proved its arrogance in so many ways…..Considering the rackets this Government has shoved down our throats since it was settled ..How in the world do you know they DIDNT” qoute these particular quotes??..there is always two sides to every story…or theory for that matter..

  • Angeni Kaya says:

    So they say its not found in any text anywhere??….Doesnt mean it didnt happen!…Like I said..we would prove our arrogance by even denying the fact if it was quoted…Just like all the other so called “theories’..This is the beauty of “critical thinking”…Assume nothing…Question everything!!

  • tg says:

    yes of course russ “potheads” is not you being a bigot or ignotant or trying to make moneny off such descrimative lables. shakspear & einstien were just another 2 “potheads”, so lets just discredit them too!!!

    • If you’d like to be taken seriously in public policy discussions, you need to come to the table with your facts straight, that’s all. When you come out of the gate with an Abraham Lincoln quote that can be definitively debunked in one quick web search, people will doubt the veracity of anything else you say.

  • tg says:

    “hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country” thomas j. or is that just bull dust too??

  • RC says:

    Yes indeed its wrong to misquote to favor anything. Its not pot–its cannabis. And abuse does not make one a ‘head’–but rather an abuser and or an addict; and not everyone who uses cannabis is an abuser or an addict–anymore than those who use alcohol are. Its not legal for the federal government to criminalize private behavior with cannabis the way they have; and for all of their evil liberty destroying efforts–they have made the problem of abuse and misuse exponentially worse–and all of the evil which goes along with it. America was much better off before these unconstitutional liberty destroying laws. By the federal governments own studies–alcohol causes more problems and death in society than all of the other drugs combined–and cannabis has never been known to have killed anybody. The truth doesn’t matter to these anti liberty fools–they do not care how many lives they destroy. Psychotropic drug use and or abuse–is not a criminal matter; the founding fathers never wanted such behavior criminalized. These are genuine criminal behaviors–murder, theft, property damage, rape, kidnapping, etc.–not private behavior which one keeps to themselves!

  • ramsey says:

    So you think its ok to imprison peaceful people over a natural plant, seems like your the fucking criminal. Ive smoked pot my whole life, making 64$ an hr for the nor cal carpenters. Faster than any guy out there, those that dont smoke included. Theres no evidence weed has harmed anyone whereas alcohol, cigs, pharmacueticals all kill people. Yet here you are, stupid fa@ggot b1tch you are, advocating against something that has nothing to do with you. Even if you said for your kids, you have no say over their life, you cant control them. Yet you call for laws to harm peaceful people. Youre a pos you dumb brainwashed b!tch, you get taxed 55.9% dumb@ss and you want laws lol youre so stupid you call for regulation upon you and yours. Dumbass

  • arthur buist says:

    Cannabis Culture

    Theology, Humor and Cannabis test positive for THC.

    Cannabis is God’s medicine for relief of stress, anxiety, depression and living in New Jersey.

    Cannabis is excellent for medication, therapy, medication, and prayer, eliminating the need for multiple vvisits to the doctor’s office and church. This could ne why there is such a fierce resistance to its use. I can only conclude with “holy hemp that’s good smoke, thank you Jesus.

    God gave the herb (cannabis) for the service of man. Psalm 104:14 Also called the herb bearing seed. Genesis 1:11.

    Humor: why was I laughing? That smoke was so good I forgot why I was laughing and couldn’t stop, cause couldn’t remember why I was laughing, which I needed to do in order to stop.

    I finally remembered why I was laughing. I was laughing at these fools who set out to eradicate God’s cannabis plant from the earth and persecuted thoes who used it, their folly being exceeding only by their guilt. When it is all over men will mock them and laugh at their utter foolishness, because they were not able to finish what started and are fit to be eradicated, except they repent and find mercy, cause there is a storm blowing in from eternity called judgement that will overflow with righteousness and sweep away the refuge of lies. Psalm 52:6-7 Isaiah 28:17.

    Cannabis: The most valuable plant on the planet for the production of textiles, medicines, food, fuel, and other products has been banned as poison and use of it a criminal act. An outrage of epic proportions, a colossal blunder and blight in human behavior which will not be forgotten, teaching us how to avoid this great evil (prohibition) in the future and judge those wicked men who brought it upon us.

  • Connor Ferguson says:

    “To win the black vote in 1922.” Blacks could’t vote back then lmao

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.