10:29am

Thu July 4, 2013
Politics

Colorado Hemp Flag Flying High Over U.S. Capitol

An American flag made from Colorado hemp is flying over the U.S. Capitol on Independence Day, thanks to a request from Democratic Congressman Jared Polis.

Earlier this year Polis, who supports legalizing industrial hemp cultivation, successfully introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill to allow colleges and universities to grow and study hemp in states where it is already legal. The Farm Bill however, failed to pass the house.

"Many states, including Colorado, have demonstrated that they are fully capable of regulating industrial hemp," Polis said in a statement. "George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp.  The first American flag was made of hemp. The US Department of Agriculture produced a 'Hemp for Victory' video in 1942. And today, I am proud that an American flag made of hemp will fly over our Capitol on the anniversary of our nation's birth."

Federal law prohibits growing industrial hemp, which looks like marijuana, but does not have its psychoactive properties. In Colorado, farmers are eagerly awaiting the go-ahead from the state to start cultivation in the wake of the vote for legalization. Kentucky farmers are looking to hemp as well.

Federally, it is legal to import and use in products such as lotions, food, clothing and building materials. A hemp advocacy organization estimates retail sales in the U.S. at $500 million.

In order to fly a flag over the Capitol, it must be made in the United States. A press release on Rep. Polis’ website says the hemp flag was constructed locally from a bolt of hemp fabric – found, made and silk-screened in Colorado.