How a Hemp Flag From Denver Made U.S. History on July 4

It’s been six years since Colorado native Michael Bowman pulled off a monumental coup for hemp on the Fourth of July. With the help of Jared Polis — a Colorado congressman at the time — Bowman briefly raised a Denver-made American flag above the United States Capitol Building on July 4, 2013.

That flag was made from hemp fibers, which were federally illegal at the time. Six years later, hemp is now federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, and Bowman has co-founded his own publicly held hemp venture.

But for Bowman, it all goes back to that historic moment in 2013.

“This, my friends, is what the beginning of the end looked like. We were winning the war,” he says. Still, it wasn’t easy to get his hands on a hemp flag; in fact, he had to rely on some quick work from his Colorado friends to get the job done.

At the time, Bowman was in Washington, D.C., lobbying for hemp and supporting then-U.S. Representative Polis with hemp policy reform. While he watched Polis debate a colleague over a hemp amendment one day inside the Capitol, Bowman spotted a flag flying overhead. Inspiration struck: Aware of a rule that allows members of Congress to request that flags be flown briefly over the Capitol building and returned to their owner, Bowman mentioned the idea to Polis. Polis was in, and Bowman was on the hook for a hemp-made American flag on quick order. So the man known among friends and industry peers as “Mr. Hemp” got busy creating one.

He first enlisted Adam Dunn, a Denver resident and founder of the hemp-based clothing company Hemp Hoodlamb; Dunn purchased the fiber in Manitou Springs and brought it to his showroom in Denver. Sheldon Reid of the Graffitee Factory screen-printing company imprinted the stars and stripes, and Dunn’s mother finished the job with her sewing skills.

Marijuana Deals Near You

Colorado hemp lobbyist Samantha Walsh, an influential figure in Colorado hemp legislation then and now, shipped the flag overnight to Bowman — just in time for Polis to hold it on the House floor as he advocated in favor of an amendment allowing institutions of higher education and state agricultural departments to produce hemp for academic research. Polis’s amendment passed on June 20, 2013, making history as the first federal hemp legislation passed in eighty years.

A few weeks later, Polis asked that the Colorado-made hemp flag be flown over the Capitol, and it was raised (fittingly) on the Fourth of July. Not everyone was thrilled with the moment, though. Michele Leonhart, head administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration at the time, reportedly categorized the incident as the lowest day of her 33 years at the DEA while speaking to a sheriff’s group the following January.

Polis had a different outlook. “George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. The first American flag was made of hemp,” he said at the time. “The U.S. 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.”

Despite Leonhart’s objections, the writing was on the wall for hemp. In December 2018, it was no longer lumped in with marijuana as part of the Controlled Substances Act after the passage of the Farm Bill, a piece of agricultural legislation allowing all fifty states to farm and sell hemp. Although hemp is the same species as the marijuana plant, which is rich in intoxicating THC, hemp is grown to have 0.3 percent THC or less, and doesn’t get users high.

With hemp finally federally legalized, the industry is exploding, predicted to be worth well over $ 20 billion by 2025. Colorado is poised as a national leader in the new trade, leading the nation in farming acreage devoted to hemp in 2017 and 2018 combined, according to farming organization Vote Hemp. And the future has never looked brighter to Bowman.

“We have gone from having to sneak a flag over the Capitol building,” he notes, and “72 months later, we are the number-one state in hemp.”

Bowman, a fifth-generation Colorado farmer who planted his first hemp crop in 2014, is excited about the opportunities that hemp can provide to struggling small and mid-sized farmers and dying farm communities. He was recently invited to sit on two state committees as part of Governor Polis’s Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan (CHAMP) to ensure Colorado’s position as a leader in the hemp industry.

His new company, First Crop, recently brought in $ 2.5 million during a round of public funding, but Bowman believes businesses like his could also help reinvigorate Colorado’s rural communities and save failing farms. “The small- to medium-sized farms, the ones that are really struggling right now, we think there is a real opportunity for them in the CBD oil space,” he says.

But Bowman thinks that hemp has far more potential than just the CBD market. “Hemp is not a one-trick pony; this plant has so much diversity,” he adds, pointing to hemp’s potential in the fiber, feed, seed and fuel markets. He even believes that when grown under sustainable farming methods, hemp could positively affect climate change, sucking CO2 out of the air, absorbing toxic metals and reducing pollution exposure.

These are thrilling times for Bowman, who has been advocating tirelessly on behalf of the plant for nearly twenty years. “Hemp is one of the oldest crops. We can trace this crop back 12,000 years. The last eighty years are an anomaly,” he says. “There have been a lot of people even five, six years ago who said, ‘You’re never going to get this. It’s never going to happen.’”

Since that now-famous Fourth of July in 2013, Bowman’s hemp flag has been utilized as a symbol of activism, touring the nation via Denver native Rick Trojan’s “Hemp Road Trip” and educating the public about the benefits of the hemp plant.

So as we celebrate our nation’s independence, let’s celebrate hemp’s newfound freedom, as well. After all, founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp, Betsy Ross’s first American flag is rumored to have been sewn on hemp, and the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence itself were likely written on hemp paper.

Toke of the Town

Largest Pot Bust in Colorado History Claims Over 80,000 Plants

Colorado law enforcement officers, district attorneys and federal authorities collaborated on what they describe as the largest collective marijuana bust in the state’s history.

During a press conference on May 24, Jason Dunn, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, discussed the two-year investigation that included nearly 250 location searches in eight counties across the state and led to  42 arrests after raids over the last three days.

“To be clear, these grows are not ones that were otherwise legal under state law. These are pure black market,” Dunn said. “We want people to know these grow operations are not occurring in abandoned houses or poorer parts of the metro area. These are happening in middle- and upper-class neighborhoods, [where] many of us live and raise families.”

The investigation was a collaborative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Dunn’s office, several Colorado district attorneys and over thirty local sheriff and police departments. Over 80,000 marijuana plants, 41 homes, 25 vehicles and more than $ 2.1 million were seized during the busts. Dunn declined to reveal whether those arrested were all part of the same criminal enterprise, citing an open investigation.

Sixteen of the defendants are facing federal charges, while the other 26 will be tried in state courts. The majority of the grows had more than 100 plants, Dunn said, and eleven defendants were charged with growing 1,000 plants. None of the arrested individuals had medical marijuana patient or caregiver cards, he added.

U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn described a two-year investigation into illegal marijuana growing that culminated in 42 arrests.

U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn described a two-year investigation into illegal marijuana growing that culminated in 42 arrests.

Thomas Mitchell

While industry reports claim that Colorado has the smallest black market for marijuana of any state in the country, Colorado district attorneys Dave Young and George Brauchler believe otherwise. During the press conference, both DAs said that recreational pot legalization has led to a rise in large-scale criminal growing operations, taking advantage of state laws that allow individuals 21 and older to grow up to twelve marijuana in their homes to disguise the grows.

“It’s clear that when Amendment 64 passed, this is not what the voters had in mind when they legalized marijuana in Colorado,” said Young, the DA for the 17th District of Colorado, calling the state a “hub” for illegal pot activity. “We have put a big dent in that hub today.”

Marijuana Deals Near You

In an interview in 2018, previous U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer said that federal authorities were investigating criminal operations from China and Cuba that were gutting homes, stealing utilities and growing illegal marijuana in the Denver suburbs; Brauchler and DEA special agent Tim McDermott confirmed that individuals from both countries were among the 42 arrested.

“[Colorado] did not vote for the wild west of weed, and that’s what we are becoming,” said Brauchler, the DA for the 18th District of Colorado. “This is not an urban issue. This is a suburban and rural issue that grows out of Amendment 64.”

Brauchler said he’s frustrated by the amount of resources that law enforcement within his jurisdiction has spent on fighting illegal marijuana cultivations; his office has had to hire an extra prosecutor specifically for illegal marijuana grows, he noted.

“There are parts of this state, and I represent them, that did not vote for Amendment 64 but are bearing the brunt of the growth of the black market that was generated from it,” Brauchler added. “For all the other states going down this same green, green-brick road: if you legalize marijuana and allow it to be grown in homes, this is what you can expect to happen.”

Toke of the Town

‘Funan’: Denis Do’s Poetic Personal History

***This article originally appeared in the May ‘19 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 290)***

Ever since director Denis Do’s Funan won the top prize at the Annecy festival last year, the movie has received nothing but fine reviews and accolades all around the world. Do’s powerful first feature, which was released by GKIDS in the U.S. in April, takes an unflinching look at one family’s experiences of life in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. The French-born helmer, who began his career as a layout artist on features such as Long Way North (2015), storyboard artist on the series Rabbids Invasion (2013) and set designer on Zombillenium (2017), was inspired by some of his own family’s experiences as they fled their country in the 1970s.

“When I was a young boy, my mother used to tell me that I had to finish my food to respect the victims of the Khmer Rouge, because they had very little to eat at that time,” recalls Do, who was born and raised in Paris. His mother’s experiences in Cambodia and his family’s eventual move to France was always in the back of his mind, and after graduating from the prestigious animation program at Gobelins, he decided to dig deep into his family story and immerse himself in the recent history of his parent’s country of origin.

“Growing up in France, I was always aware of the fact that my roots were elsewhere,” notes Do. “My friends used to tell me stories about spending weekends with their grandparents in the countryside, and it made me sad because I wasn’t able to see my grandparents. I would ask my mother about the family’s past, and everything would hit a wall when we came to the subject of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.”

First-Hand Accounts

It wasn’t until he took a trip to the old country in 1995 when he came to realize how different his French upbringing was from Cambodians’ daily lives. “I stayed in the hotel most of the time,” Do remembers. “I was experiencing a culture shock. You could see how the war had impacted the people on the street. It was too much, so I denied everything, but when I went back with my little brother and mother in 1997, I was able to meet survivors from my family. It was during that second trip when we all had to leave quickly at four in the morning, we escaped to Vietnam as there were tanks and soldiers in the streets of Phnom Penh. I heard my mother say something like, ‘I don’t want my son to face the same things we did.’ The whole experience reminded her of many bad memories, so I started to look by myself at all the real historical parts.”

Do says he knew he wanted to tell his family’s and this chapter in Cambodian history in an animated movie. “I felt this huge heritage on my shoulder and knew I had to share all these testimonies,” he explains. “I had studied animation, and after I graduated, I went to my mother and started to collect all the information I could. I wasn’t in a hurry to find the producer, and I didn’t approach this project in a traditional way. I wanted to get the story right and as precisely as I could. I don’t know if animation is the perfect medium to tell the story, I just know that it is the perfect medium for me.”

Produced by Les Films d’Ici, Epuar, Bac Cinema and Lunamine, Funan uses 2D animation (created through a Toon Boom Harmony pipeline) to give life to the stories of Do’s family and friends. The approach is poetic and stark, and packs an emotional punch, although the director is wise enough to show restraint when depicting the harsher atrocities of the regime. As the Variety review points out, “Do attempts to understand and to honor what his mother went through before escaping Cambodia in 1979. While her survival may provide a happy ending, the last half-hour of Funan is so heavy that the film effectively plays more as tragedy than as triumph, all the more impactful for being true.”

The director says he wanted the perfect balance between being historically accurate and creating the film’s poetic environment and memorable characters. “My goal wasn’t only to represent, but to also re-appropriate the pictures and memories — to make them live and to live with them. Animation is perfect for such a task. Funan is based on personal and historical events, but it is also a work of fiction. We took creative liberties in terms of script and imagery.”

A Personal Discovery

Do further explains that in the beginning of the process, he didn’t think that the movie would help him come to terms with this past and history. But now he realizes that making Funan has been a very cathartic experience. “I didn’t experience the Khmer Rouge regime myself, so I had enough distance from that,” he notes. “But the movie allowed me to connect back with those Cambodian roots that I used to hate before. I could tell that through my mother’s testimonies, her stories, I loved Cambodia again. It was also a kind of therapy for me. I was really dedicated to these stories. That’s why we spent so many years with all the artists, and the production company, also, with a lot of authenticity. The story [needed to be] really personal, to connect with the history, the cold reality of it. That’s why, for example, we created all the characters and the design of the film in such a realistic way. Because I didn’t want the audience to be faced with a cartoon.”

Another important goal was to depict the Khmer Rouge characters as human and nuanced. “These people were also born and raised in Cambodia,” he notes. “But there’s no good side and bad side. There are victims, and there is the Khmer Rouge, and between the two extremes we have different levels of psychology. I wanted the audience to feel empathy. After all, we are not trying to give a history lesson. I believe that if the audience gets interested in the story, then they will make their own inquiries and research the history themselves.”

Do, who is now working on a lighter, happier animated movie about young people in modern-day Cambodia, says he’s very pleased that animation allows artists to explore a wide variety of subjects, including mature political themes. “I expect animation to explore many more types of subjects, because everyone has personal stories to tell. I think in some way, 2D animation is more mature than ever before. In terms of story and content, we can now use animation to tell many different types of stories. I didn’t grow up with Disney movies, so I never had this stereotype about animation in my mind. We can tell what we want through animation. We should just create and not be limited by restrictions.”

GKIDS releases Funan in select theaters in the U.S. and Canada, starting with openings at N.Y.C.’s IFC Center June 7 and L.A.’s Laemmle Glendale June 14.

Animation Magazine

News Bytes: Animating Queer History, ‘Sonic’ Teaser Poster, Pucca Goes 3D & More

CROWDFUND: ‘Our Forbidden Country’: an Animated History of Queer Cruising
From the acclaimed writer/director/animator of Torrey Pines, Clyde Petersen, this second stop-motion feature project explores the subjects of forbidden love, sex with strangers, the impact of AIDS, history and rebellion with a focus on personal stories and reflections from the queer community. Deadline: Dec. 21!

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Irish Animation Awards
Animation Ireland has extended the deadline for its 3rd annual awards to Monday, December 17. Categories include Best Animated International Film, Best Newcomer, Best Commercial, Best VFX, Best Apps, Gaming & Interactive, and more!

Cracking Times at Dublin Animation Company Boulder Media
The toon shop behind hit programs such as the acclaimed Danger Mouse reboot (BBC) has more than tripled its profits in the last year, reaching €3.6m. Boulder had turnover of €18.5m in 2017, up sharply from €8.7m in 2016 when it made €1.1m pre-tax profit.

6 Reasons Why Creative Millennials Should Consider Animation as Their Career
Creativity, technological insight and a love for storytelling are all in-demand in the multi-billion-dollar global biz, as Cosmos-Maya HR director Ashutosh Tipnis points out.

Korea-Born Character Pucca Reimagined as 3D Animation
CJ E&M has announced the popular li’l plucky cartoon gal’s first new TV show in 10 years, in 3D CG for the first time. The new Pucca will debut on local cable in South Korea and on the Tooniverse starting December 19. The series comes out of a deal with original studio VOOZ signed earlier this year.

’Sonic the Hedgehog’ Movie First Look: Official Poster
IGN discusses the hints dropped by our first teasing look at the CG/live-action hybrid flick with exec produced Tim Miller (director of Deadpool) and producer Neal Moritz (Fast and the Furious franchise). The pic is directed by Jeff Fowler (Animated Short Oscar nominee for Gopher Broke) and stars Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, who finds himself in our present-day world befriending Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and getting in the way of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Paramount releases Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters November 8, 2019.

Animation Ireland

Animation Ireland



Animation Magazine

Lit History: The Magical Life of ‘Brownie Mary’ Rathbun

Lit History is a weekly series that celebrates cannabis history by sharing some of the long forgotten stories of weed’s contribution to culture, community, medicine, and science. Today, writer Brian Applegarth shares about cannabis pioneer and patient rights activist Mary Jane Rathbun, known as Brownie Mary, and her significant role in the cannabis legalization movement. […]

Online History Gives Clues to Heart Ills

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Online searches about heart disease peak in the winter, a new study says. That’s when deaths from heart disease top out, too.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and more than 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States every year.

Researchers wondered if online searches for heart information varied seasonally, so they analyzed more than 10 years of Google data. They found that search volumes were 15 percent higher in the winter than in the summer in the United States and nearly 50 percent higher in winter than in summer in Australia.

The analysis also revealed that there are more searches about heart disease in regions of the United States with higher rates of heart disease deaths than in areas with lower rates.

Online search data could help estimate heart disease rates in specific regions, the researchers said.

The study was published Sept. 4 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“By showing that seasonal and geographic interest in seeking (heart disease) health information correlates with findings in real-world data, we show that Internet search-query data could potentially provide real-time information on (heart disease) in the community,” lead investigator Dr. Nilay Kumar said in a journal news release. He’s with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Other experts agree.

Internet search engines and social media postings can act like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” in the early detection of disease trends, Dr. Joseph Murphy and Dr. R. Scott Wright wrote in an accompanying editorial. The cardiologists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., also said searches and postings will “sing like a canary” in spreading important public health warnings.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE:Mayo Clinic Proceedings, news release, Sept. 4, 2018

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Lit History: Cannabis, Italian Style — In Bologna, Hemp is Protection

Cannabis has a long, fascinating history. Lit History is a weekly series that tells follow that history by sharing some of the long-forgotten stories of weed’s contribution to medicine, science, and culture. Today, Schwilly examines the artistic representation of Bologna’s hemp history. Cannabis is so ingrained in Italy’s history that it is literally inscribed into […]

In aftermath of worst mass-shooting in U.S. history, offers of help have poured in.

Oct. 3, 2017 — The horrific news about the Las Vegas shootings that killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 inspires a universal desire to help.

“It’s a very natural reaction,” says . The tragedy hits home in an ”it could have been me” way, he says. “All of us have gone to concerts, gone on a trip, been caught up in the mood of the audience.”

Helping, whether in small or big ways, offers ”the satisfaction of being able to make a difference,” Figley says.

Here are some ways to help:

Donate blood: The American Red Cross has enough to support the need in Vegas, both financially and with blood supplies, according to a statement issued Monday. But the agency encourages people to donate blood and funds so they are there when needed in the future. It’s more important that local blood banks are full before a tragedy, the organization said.

To find out where to donate, go to

Donate funds: Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, with Sheriff Joe Lombardo, have established a GoFundMe page at The money will give relief and financial support to the victims and families involved in the shooting.

Don’t spread false information: By Tuesday, rumors about accomplices, terrorist connections, and other misinformation were rampant on social media. Don’t automatically share or retweet unconfirmed information from social media.


Charles Figley, PhD, professor, Tulane University Traumatology Institute, New Orleans.

American Red Cross.

Clark County, NV, government.

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Mummy DNA Gives Clues to Egypt’s Long History

WEDNESDAY, May 31, 2017 — Modern Egyptians have more DNA from sub-Saharan Africa than mummies entombed in their country, according to the first genome data on mummies.

The findings are helping researchers gauge the impact of history on Egyptians’ genetics.

The international team of researchers analyzed DNA from 151 mummies from the archaeological site of Abusir el-Meleq. The site is along the Nile River in Middle Egypt. The mummies date from about 1400 B.C. to 400 A.D.

Genetic studies of ancient Egyptian mummies are rare due to a number of issues.

“The hot Egyptian climate, the high humidity levels in many tombs and some of the chemicals used in mummification techniques contribute to DNA degradation and are thought to make the long-term survival of DNA in Egyptian mummies unlikely,” said study senior author Johannes Krause. He is director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

This team’s success in extracting and analyzing nuclear DNA from mummies is a breakthrough that opens the door to further direct study of mummified remains in order to get a better understanding of Egypt’s population history, the study authors explained in an institute news release.

The researchers’ goal was to find out if ancient Egyptian populations were affected at the genetic level by foreign conquest and domination during the time period in the study.

According to study co-lead author Verena Schuenemann, of the University of Tuebingen, Germany, the research team “wanted to test if the conquest of Alexander the Great and other foreign powers has left a genetic imprint on the ancient Egyptian population.”

Wolfgang Haak, group leader at the Max Planck Institute, said, “The genetics of the Abusir el-Meleq community did not undergo any major shifts during the 1,300-year timespan we studied, suggesting that the population remained genetically relatively unaffected by foreign conquest and rule.”

Modern Egyptians share about 8 percent more ancestry on the nuclear level with sub-Saharan African populations than with ancient Egyptians, the investigators found.

Stephan Schiffels, also at the Max Planck Institute, concluded that the finding “suggests that an increase in sub-Saharan African gene flow into Egypt occurred within the last 1,500 years.”

The study was published May 30 in the journal Nature Communications.

More information

The Smithsonian has more on Egyptian mummies.

Posted: May 2017

Recommended for you – Daily MedNews

Checking Patient’s Drug History May Help Curb Opioid Abuse

TUESDAY, May 23, 2017 — Doctors can help stem the U.S. opioid epidemic by checking their patients’ drug history before prescribing powerful painkillers, a new study suggests.

Addicts frequently “doctor-shop” in an attempt to obtain opioids such as OxyContin (oxycodone), Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen).

But, nearly every state now has a database tracking opioid prescriptions, Cornell University researchers said. Doctors can use these databases to check their patients’ past prescriptions and identify likely drug abusers.

“The main issue is getting providers to change their prescribing behavior. The majority of opioids that people abuse start in the medical system as a legitimate prescription,” said study co-author Colleen Carey. She’s an assistant professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology in Ithaca, N.Y.

However, prescription databases only help combat drug abuse when doctors are required by law to check them before writing prescriptions, Carey and her colleagues noted in a university news release.

The researchers found that states that enforced a “must access” policy for prescription drug databases saw a drop in the number of Medicare recipients who got more than a seven-months’ supply of medication in just six months. Also, fewer people filled a prescription before their previous supply ran out.

According to the study, the number of Medicare opioid users who received prescriptions from five or more doctors dropped by 8 percent in those states. And the number of people who got opioids from five or more pharmacies fell by more than 15 percent.

The effects of prescription database regulations were most notable in states with the strictest laws, including New York, the researchers said.

New York requires doctors to check the opioid history of “every patient, every time,” the researchers said. But even less stringent state laws reduced doctor-shopping, the study found.

The study looked only at Medicare recipients, but the researchers said their findings apply to the general population. They noted, however, that patients who abuse opioids could travel to a state with fewer regulations to more easily obtain their drugs.

The findings will be published in a future issue of American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse provides more information on opioids.

Posted: May 2017 – Daily MedNews

A Brief History of Marijuana Legalization

After the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 eviscerated America’s cannabis pharmacopeia, along with the industrial uses of hemp; it not only capped a low point in legalization, it also represented a loss of personal freedom and manufacturing innovation. Ironically, just one year after the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act, Popular Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering magazines […]

Puerto Rico Makes Medical Marijuana History

The first Doctor in Puerto Rico has just been awarded certification to prescribe medical marijuana, setting this U.S. Territory on a historical path forward.  Puerto Ricans are now going to enjoy a freedom that most countries around the world still don’t possess.  Further to that, Puerto Rico’s “parent company,” the United States of America, has already legalized […]