It has been six years since Colorado native Michael Bowman pulled off a monumental coup for hemp on the Fourth of July. With the assistance of Jared Polis — a Colorado congressman on the time — Bowman briefly raised a Denver-made American flag above the USA Capitol Constructing on July 4, 2013.
That flag was produced from hemp fibers, which have been federally unlawful on the time. Six years later, hemp is now federally authorized due to the 2018 Farm Invoice, and Bowman has co-founded his personal publicly held hemp enterprise.
However for Bowman, all of it goes again to that historic second in 2013.
“This, my mates, is what the start of the tip regarded like. We have been profitable the warfare,” he says. Nonetheless, it wasn’t straightforward to get his palms on a hemp flag; in actual fact, he needed to depend on some fast work from his Colorado mates to get the job achieved.
On the time, Bowman was in Washington, D.C., lobbying for hemp and supporting then-U.S. Consultant Polis with hemp coverage reform. Whereas he watched Polis debate a colleague over a hemp modification someday contained in the Capitol, Bowman noticed a flag flying overhead. Inspiration struck: Conscious of a rule that enables members of Congress to request that flags be flown briefly over the Capitol constructing and returned to their proprietor, Bowman talked about the thought to Polis. Polis was in, and Bowman was on the hook for a hemp-made American flag on fast order. So the person identified amongst mates and trade friends as “Mr. Hemp” acquired busy creating one.
He first enlisted Adam Dunn, a Denver resident and founding father of the hemp-based clothes firm Hemp Hoodlamb; Dunn bought the fiber in Manitou Springs and introduced it to his showroom in Denver. Sheldon Reid of the Graffitee Manufacturing facility screen-printing firm imprinted the celebs and stripes, and Dunn’s mom completed the job along with her stitching abilities.
Colorado hemp lobbyist Samantha Walsh, an influential determine in Colorado hemp laws then and now, shipped the flag in a single day to Bowman — simply in time for Polis to carry it on the Home ground as he advocated in favor of an modification permitting establishments of upper schooling and state agricultural departments to supply hemp for tutorial analysis. Polis’s modification handed on June 20, 2013, making historical past as the primary federal hemp laws handed in eighty years.
A couple of weeks later, Polis requested that the Colorado-made hemp flag be flown over the Capitol, and it was raised (fittingly) on the Fourth of July. Not everybody was thrilled with the second, although. Michele Leonhart, head administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration on the time, reportedly categorized the incident because the lowest day of her 33 years on the DEA whereas talking to a sheriff’s group the next January.
Polis had a unique outlook. “George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. The primary American flag was made from hemp,” he stated on the time. “The U.S. Division of Agriculture produced a Hemp for Victory video in 1942. And right this moment, I’m proud that an American flag made from hemp will fly over our Capitol on the anniversary of our nation’s delivery.”
Regardless of Leonhart’s objections, the writing was on the wall for hemp. In December 2018, it was not lumped in with marijuana as a part of the Managed Substances Act after the passage of the Farm Invoice, a bit of agricultural laws permitting all fifty states to farm and promote hemp. Though hemp is similar species because the marijuana plant, which is wealthy in intoxicating THC, hemp is grown to have 0.three p.c THC or much less, and would not get customers excessive.
With hemp lastly federally legalized, the trade is exploding, predicted to be value properly over $20 billion by 2025. Colorado is poised as a nationwide chief within the new commerce, main the nation in farming acreage dedicated to hemp in 2017 and 2018 mixed, in response to farming group Vote Hemp. And the longer term has by no means regarded brighter to Bowman.
“We now have gone from having to sneak a flag over the Capitol constructing,” he notes, and “72 months later, we’re the number-one state in hemp.”
Bowman, a fifth-generation Colorado farmer who planted his first hemp crop in 2014, is happy concerning the alternatives that hemp can present to struggling small and mid-sized farmers and dying farm communities. He was just lately invited to take a seat on two state committees as a part of Governor Polis’s Colorado Hemp Development and Administration Plan (CHAMP) to make sure Colorado’s place as a frontrunner within the hemp trade.
His new firm, First Crop, just lately introduced in $2.5 million throughout a spherical of public funding, however Bowman believes companies like his may additionally assist reinvigorate Colorado’s rural communities and save failing farms. “The small- to medium-sized farms, those which are actually struggling proper now, we predict there’s a actual alternative for them within the CBD oil house,” he says.
However Bowman thinks that hemp has much more potential than simply the CBD market. “Hemp just isn’t a one-trick pony; this plant has a lot range,” he provides, pointing to hemp’s potential within the fiber, feed, seed and gasoline markets. He even believes that when grown beneath sustainable farming strategies, hemp may positively have an effect on local weather change, sucking CO2 out of the air, absorbing poisonous metals and decreasing air pollution publicity.
These are thrilling instances for Bowman, who has been advocating tirelessly on behalf of the plant for practically twenty years. “Hemp is among the oldest crops. We will hint this crop again 12,000 years. The final eighty years are an anomaly,” he says. “There have been lots of people even 5, six years in the past who stated, ‘You’re by no means going to get this. It’s by no means going to occur.’”
Since that now-famous Fourth of July in 2013, Bowman’s hemp flag has been utilized as an emblem of activism, touring the nation through Denver native Rick Trojan’s “Hemp Highway Journey” and educating the general public about the advantages of the hemp plant.
In order we have fun our nation’s independence, let’s have fun hemp‘s newfound freedom, as properly. In any case, founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson each grew hemp, Betsy Ross’s first American flag is rumored to have been sewn on hemp, and the primary drafts of the Declaration of Independence itself have been seemingly written on hemp paper.