Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hemp n.

[SE hemp, a name for the plant cannabis sativa, commonly used in the context of textiles (thus sense 1) rather than intoxication]

1. the hangman’s noose, whether lit. or just fig. as a ref. to hanging; thus hemp office, the condemned cell; hemp take someone, an oath [the hangman’s noose is made of hemp].

[UK]Appius and Virginia in Farmer (1908) 26: Haste for a hangman in hazard of hemp! Run! for a ruddock there is no such imp.
[UK]Dekker Honest Whore Pt 2 (1630) V ii: The Pander May know the Hangmans ruffe should fit him too, Therefore he’s set to beat Hempe.
[UK]Fletcher Night-Walker I i: He is a trim youth to be tender of, hempe take him.
[UK] ‘The Penitent Traytor’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) I 56: O Tyburn, Tyburn; O thou sad Tryangle, / A vyler weight upon thee nee’r did dangle, / See here I am at last with Hemp to mew, / To give thee what was long before thy due.
[UK]Mennis & Smith ‘Ballet of Shepheard Tom’ Wit Restor’d (1817) 303: And out of his scrip he pulled a rope: Quoth he, the man that wooes, With me prepare his noose; [...] By hemp Ile choose to dy.
[UK]Night-Walkers Declaration 7: Take the Trade of Trepanning [...] to wheadle us gravely into a Tavern, and instead of the Reckoning produce the short Staff, and hurry us away to the Hemp office.
‘Whipping-Tom’ In Praise of Knavery III 20: He will likewise be Entitled to the Hemp, and a swing at Tyburn.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 14 Apr. 5/3: And on one supreme occasion, which had ne’er occurred before, / He’d the happy opportunity of ord’ring hemp for four.

2. (drugs) marijuana.

[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 162: She’s been hitting the hemp too hard.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[UK]C. MacInnes Mr Love and Justice (1964) 167: Frankie disapproved of Indian hemp (well, just didn’t like it).
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[UK]‘Hassan-i-Sabbah’ Leaves of Grass 1: Miggles / Hemp / Gage.
[US](con. 1945) M. Angelou Gather Together In My Name 169: They won’t let you smoke hemp.
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 62: Ups, downs, acid, mescalin and hemp.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 11: Hemp — Marijuana.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 54: He began to drink manhattan Cocktails, and he smoked Hemp Cigarettes until he was Dotty.
[UK]Guardian G2 4 Aug. 17: Long-standing hemp enthusiast Harrelson appeared in a Sacramento courtroom last Thursday.

In compounds

hemp dance (n.)

a hanging (poss. by vigilantes).

[US]Monroe City Democrat (MO) 10 July 7/2: When it comes to amusement Paris [US] with its little necktie party and hemp dance isn’t in it with Mt Morris, Ill.
hemp party (n.)

(US) a hanging, esp. a lynching.

[US]Dispatch (Columbus, OH) 6 Dec. n.p.: If the incendiarist is found, a hemp party may result [DA].
hempseed (n.)

1. one who is destined to hang; thus eat hempseed, to be destined to hang.

[UK]Shakespeare Henry IV Pt 2 II i: Do, thou rogue! do, thou hempseed.
[UK]Dekker Honest Whore Pt 2 (1630) V ii: Why should I eate hempe-seed at the Hangmans thirteen-pence halfe-penny Ordinary, and haue this whore laugh at me as I swing, as I totter?
[[UK]N. Ward London Spy V 112: It was Justice-Hall, where a Dooms-Day Court was held once a Month, to sentence such Canary-Birds to a Penitential Psalm, who will rather be choak’d by the Product of Hempseed, for living Roguishly than exert their Power in Lawful Labour].
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Iron Chest II v: Hence, you hemp-seed, hence!
[UK]W. Scott Kenilworth I 23: What, Hal Hempseed? [...] [he] fled the country with a pursuivant’s warrant at his heels.
[UK](con. 1715) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1917) 123: We’ll see about that, young hempseed.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

2. the hangman.

[UK]T. Walker The Quaker’s Opera II i: bulk.: I hear Jonathan is abroad again, Mr. Hempseed. hemp.: Damn the Prig, I don’t value him a Louse.
hemp-string (n.) (also hemp-strings)

a term of abuse, a thief.

[UK]G. Gascoigne (trans.) Supposes IV ii: Thou wilt be hanged, I warrant thee [...] If I come near you, hempstring, I will teach you.
[UK]Greene & Lodge Lady Alimony IV vi: Now, you hemp-strings, had you no time to nim us, but when we were upon our visits?

In phrases

hemp’s grown for you, the (also the hemp is growing for you, there’s hemp-seed sown for you)

a warning phr. implying that the person in question is bound to end on the gallows if they pursue their current lifestyle.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 96: ‘Hemp (the) is growing for the villain;’ he is deserving a halter and will get his deserts.
[[UK]B.M. Carew Gypsey of the Glen I i: Not a knave can be hanged, but you grown at hemp-seed].
[UK]Dickens Dombey and Son (1970) 379: ‘You’re a nice young gentleman!’ said Mr Carker, shaking his head at him. ‘There’s hemp-seed sown for you, my fine fellow!’.
[UK] (ref. to 17C) J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 152/1: Hemp’s grown for you (Peoples’, 17 cent.). Periphrastic prognostication of the gallows-flax coming from hemp and rope from flax. Meaning that already the executioner’s cord is in existence for the beneficiary referred.