Gingrich was later asked if former Presidents Thomas Jefferson or George Washington should have been arrested for growing marijuana.

“I think Jefferson or George Washington would have rather strongly discouraged you from growing marijuana and their techniques with dealing with it would have been rather more violent than our current government,” he responded.

Both Washington and Jefferson grew marijuana on their Virginia farms. At the time, the plant was used to make a number a products, such as rope and textiles. It did not become a widely-used recreational drug in the United States until the 20th century, but some academics have claimed that at least seven early U.S. presidents used the drug in the form of hashish.