If you're near the Capitol on the Fourth, celebrating your patriotism and whatnot, or if you see images from Washington of the building during broadcasts of John P. Sousa performances, take a look at the flag on top of the dome. That flag, ladies and gentlemen, will for the first time in decades be made of hemp.
The Washington Post reports on the patriotic move. (Its headline includes the word "high," do you get it?)
Colorado hemp advocate Michael Bowman is the man responsible for getting the flag, made from Colorado-raised hemp and screen-printed with the stars and stripes, up there.
He cooked up the idea while lobbying Congress this year to include pro-hemp measures in the farm bill. That legislation failed, of course, but the seed of the hemp flag had been planted.
Not literally; that legislation was up only two weeks ago, and hemp takes longer than that to grow. (The more you know.™)
Hemp advocate Bowman couldn't have gotten the flag flying without the help of Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado. The Capitol has a program through which members of Congress can send in flags to be flown above the Capitol. (No bigger than 8' by 12'; no flags on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day.) Polis sent in Bowman's.
During debate on the Farm Bill last month, Polis also used the flag to emphasize his point about the need for expanded industrial hemp research. In his speech on the floor (which you can see at right), Polis points out that the first American flag ever made, the Betsy Ross original, was made of hemp. Polis's amendment passed. The bill to which it was attached didn't.