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Did Abraham Lincoln Smoke Pot?

After all, this was an era where hash was believed to expand the mind, when hemp fabric was used all over.

By Anthony GramugliaPublished 7 years ago 2 min read

You frequent the internet long enough, and you hear a lot about famous people who smoked pot, like Louis Armstrong, David Bowie, and Kevin Smith. The more well-known, the more shocking it is when you hear they smoked some weed.

But Abraham Lincoln?

A popular quote online indicates that Abraham Lincoln might've smoked marijuana in his pipes. After all, this was an era where hash was believed to expand the mind, when hemp fabric was used all over. Is it that difficult to believe that Abraham Lincoln smoked weed? Or, perhaps, is this just another internet urban legend.

Did Abraham Lincoln smoke pot?

The Evidence

While there are many people who would say that it's highly possible that Abraham Lincoln did smoke weed based on mindsets toward cannabis at the times (it was neither illegal nor looked down upon during Lincoln's presidency), there is little hard evidence for it.

The only real evidence comes in the form of a quote attributed to Lincoln that's floated along the net:

Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.

The quote supposedly came from a letter Lincoln wrote to the Hohner Company, a letter written by most estimates in 1855. Supposedly, this served as an endorsement of Hohner harmonicas, the same way Michael Jordan and Hanes Underwear go hand-in-hand.

If this quote is true, it may be very clear that Abraham Lincoln smoked marijuana in his pipe. Or at the very least, the guy enjoyed the the nice buzz of some hemp oil. If this quote is real, then the question "Did Abraham Lincoln smoke pot?" should be definitively answered.


If a letter like this existed, surely it would be preserved, or at the very least be utilized by the Hohner Company. This sort of endorsement would no doubt be spread in newspapers or the like. Lincoln promoting hemp smoking would, no doubt, make headlines, especially once he became president, which didn't happen until 1860, a whole five years before the letter was written.

But there in lies one issue: Hohner didn't make harmonicas until two years after 1855.

Okay, so maybe the letter is incorrectly dated. We can reconfirm when it was written when we have our hands on it.

Okay, but where is it?

The truth is that this letter simply does not exist. There are no records of it existing before the age of the internet – no definitive proof, anyway.

In fact, if not for a Huffington Post article presenting the quote as truth, there'd be no authoritative source for this quote. And guess what? The quote has no real source. No evidence that it ever existed at all.

Furthermore, most accounts of Lincoln indicate that not only did he not smoke marijuana, but he didn't even use a pipe nor cigarettes nor a cigar. The man barely drank. Honest Abe was as straight-laced as you can get.

A Shadow of a Doubt

But we can never definitively prove Abraham Lincoln did not smoke pot. There's no record of his every waking moment, and no one stared at him to make sure he never lit up a hemp pipe.

But, likewise, there is no evidence that he did smoke weed, either.

In the absence of any proof, it is time to answer the question.

"Did Abraham Lincoln smoke pot?"

In all probability, no.

historyfact or fiction

About the Creator

Anthony Gramuglia

Obsessive writer fueled by espresso and drive. Into speculative fiction, old books, and long walks. Follow me at twitter.com/AGramuglia

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