Since America's bloodiest battle in July 1863, Gettysburg has struggled with the tension between preserving the battlefield to be historically authentic and allowing nature to take its course. A man claiming to be the distant relative of General Ulysses S. Grant seems to have found a balance between the two positions: planting pot.
Local vagrant, Johnny "Appleweed" Grant, 153, was arrested at Devil's Den in Gettysburg for allegedly planting marijuana seeds across the battlefield. Grant claims he has photographic proof that the plant, made illegal in the United States in 1937, grew naturally in the woods surrounding the battlefield in 1863.
Though his ancestor was not present at the battle, Grant said he planted the "historical herb" to honor veterans of the conflict. Over a period of three days, he crossed the hallowed ground tossing seeds from a Civil War ammunition cartridge box while wearing a Union kepi cap. Park visitors complained that Grant was disturbing the peace, singing Bob Marley songs and reeking of patchouli.
Park rangers found Grant sleeping at the famous Confederate sharpshooter’s barricade after pretending to fire his guitar towards Little Round Top, where Union general Stephen H. Weed was shot during the second day of the battle. As Grant was arrested, he saluted the park rangers and said he would report to General George Meade, the commanding General of Union forces at Gettysburg, "im-Meade-iately." He giggled raucously as he was handcuffed and taken to Adams County Prison.
The National Park Service has dealt with delusions caused by the illegal drug before. In the 1980s, park ranger Godfrey Spooks found hash-smoking historians growing the plant near the Eternal Peace Light. The historians argued that Franklin D. Roosevelt had smoked a marijuana cigarette lit from the monument's flame when he dedicated it in 1938, a year after the plant was made illegal.
Spooks agreed to let the historians off with a warning, admitting, "he dedicated a monument to eternal peace while Hitler rose to power--he had to be high!"
While burning the evidence, one of the historians, a Grateful Dead fan named Peter Gastley, breathed in too much campfire smoke and had a vivid hallucination of Abraham Lincoln urging him to "start telling ghost stories around town to trick tourists out of their money."
Grant also cited the beloved martyr President in his defense. He said he was fulfilling Lincoln's hope in the Gettysburg Address "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under Ghost, shall have a new growth of weed soon." When asked for further comment, Grant sang, "this land is my land, now get off my lawn!"