Was The First American Flag Really Made of Hemp?


When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, most regiments participating in the war for independence against the British were fighting under their own flag. However, in June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met to create the Continental Army so that they could align a more organized effort against their oppressors. This later led to creation of the Continental Colors, essentially what was considered to be the first American flag. Eventually, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution stating that "the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white," and that "the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." This resolution was passed on June 14, 1777 and over 100 years later, President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary of that decree by establishing June 14th as Flag Day. 

Who Made the First American Flag?

Betsy Ross American FlagMost Americans would most likely answer that Betsy Ross is famous for making the first American flag. While some of the facts leave this up for debate, this story was first publicly relayed to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania almost 100 years later by her grandson, William Canby. It was documented that Betsy Ross had often recounted a visit she had received in late May or early June of 1776 from George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross. They provided a sketch of the flag described above and after a few suggested changes including the arrangement of the stars, the first flag was sewn. (Some records and historians show that Francis Hopkinson also played a major role in the design.)

One Nation, One Plant, Many Uses

Cannabis AmericaIt is also documented that industrial hemp served many purposes including Betsy Ross’s flag and the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson & other founding fathers also grew hemp. (Source: U.S. Government Archives.) Hemp was a large part of American agriculture at that time and was encouraged to be grown by the government due to how versatile of a plant it was.

It is documented that Anglo-Americans and Europeans have known about the medicinal benefits of cannabis since at least the 1830's. Cannabis extracts were available in pharmacies to help with stomach aches, migraines, inflammation, insomnia and more. However, many Americans' attitudes towards cannabis shifted at the turn of the century motivated by propaganda like Reefer Madness.

Today, we are seeing a seismic shift thanks to so many pioneers leading the charge but we have a long ways to go to unwind some of the damage caused by prohibition. History can teach us many valuable lessons and it seems that we may often times forget (or ignore) these important lessons from from the past. One thing we do know is that farming hemp can help make everything from clothing to paper to soap - and we're now witnessing the growing number of medicinal uses from cannabis. For today, we can celebrate flag day and should continue to advocate what it truly represents - valor, purity, vigilance, perseverance, justice and most importantly, freedom for all!

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Spire Insurance Solutions provides risk management solutions to both the Recreational & Medical Industry. Through a consistent approach, Spire is your expert buyer of insurance and helps companies purchase important Insurance coverages in the evolving Cannabis industry. With years over 45 years in business with experience in assessing risk, our team sees that many cannabis related businesses do not have the coverage they desperately need. Our mission is provide unparalleled and caring service to our clients through our knowledgeable staff and give back to our employees, agency, industry and our communities.

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Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site does not provide insurance or legal advice. This site is for educational purposes only as well as to provide you with general information and a general understanding of insurance, not to provide specific legal advice or specific contract advice. Viewing this site, receipt of information contained on this site, or the transmission of information from or to this site does not constitute a client relationship. 

The information on this Blog/Web Site is not intended to be a substitute for professional insurance or legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed agent in your state pertaining to insurance and legal issues.

Author: Tyler Bartosh

Sources: History.com; Politifact.com; ABCNews.com; Hemp Industries Association; PBS.org




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