Patagonia urges support of hemp legalization bill with new video

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Veteran Michael Lewis harvests industrial hemp on his farm in Kentucky. Photo by Donnie Hedden.

Veteran Michael Lewis harvests industrial hemp on his farm in Kentucky. Photo by Donnie Hedden.

You can buy hemp, sell hemp, make clothes from it and even eat it. But in the United States, it’s illegal to grow it.

Hemp often gets lumped in with marijuana, and is on the United States’ list of Schedule I controlled substances, even though it has no psychoactive properties.

Patagonia is working to change that, and released a short film Monday documenting the push to legalize industrial hemp farming, from the perspective of a Kentucky farm that won the right to plant the crop in court.

“I don’t think there’s anything more direct, more empowering or more exciting that you could do for someone in modern society than to help them reconnect with the land in the way that our ancestors once did,” Rebecca Burgess says in the film. Burgess is the founder of Fibershed, which works to educate people about souring clothing’s ingredients locally and sustainably – dyes included. “American hemp could offer that.”

On July 4, 2014, Lewis flew a handmade American flag, made from hemp harvested on his farm, at the Capitol. The nation's first American flag was made from hemp, too. Photo by Donnie Hedden.

On July 4, 2014, Lewis flew a handmade American flag, made from hemp harvested on his farm, at the Capitol. The nation's first American flag was made from hemp, too. Photo by Donnie Hedden.

The video is called “Harvesting Liberty,” and was produced in conjunction with Fibershed and the Growing Warriors Project. It features veteran Michael Lewis, who flew an American flag handmade from hemp on his farm after harvest.

Patagonia sees hemp legalization as a no-brainer that enables farmers to grow a profitable crop, and manufacturers to create more sustainable, durable clothing. The company is urging people to sign a petition being delivered to Congress July 4, asking for passage of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015/2016.

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