The first time in 75 years
Once upon a time, every U.S. flag was made of hemp, keeping in step with a tradition which went back to the times of Betsy Ross. But that tradition ended in 1937 with the passage of the federal Marihuana Tax Stamp Act, which criminalized all industrial strains of cannabis alongside psychoactive varieties. In the intervening 75 years, most copies of Old Glory found fluttering around the country have been made from Nylon, the synthetic fiber which largely replaced hemp.
This July 4th, the old tradition will return – at least for a day.
As the Washington Post reports, hemp advocate Michael Bowman has succeeded in slipping an American flag made from 100 percent American-grown hemp into the Capitol Flag Program, a federal program which oversees the transfer of U.S. flags on and off the top of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), a long-time supporter of cannabis reform, tipped Bowman off to the program and helped him navigate its application process.
The Capitol Flag Program services a high turnaround rate and the hemp flag probably won’t fly for longer than a day. But there could be no apter day than Independence Day to proudly fly a flag made of a sustainable crop alternative which grows abundantly at home.