When she was commissioned in 1797, the USS Constitution, (the oldest American Navy warship, known as "Old Ironsides", sigil below), was fitted up with over 120,000 pounds of hemp; for the lines and rigging, for the great expanse of sails, and even for the caulking for the wooden hull. That's American hemp, grown and manufactured in the newborn United States. Today she sits in the Charleston Navy Yard until she is brought out for big occasions. I do not know how she is rigged now - perhaps with the synthetic fiber and materials that nudged hemp, once tightly woven into the nation's fabric, out of it's original position as chief source of the country's rope and linens, and many other useful things.
Hemp's fiber has caught the wind and held sails fast for more ships throughout history than is possible to count. It puts the wave in the flag, covered the covered wagons and is said to be the source of the paper our constitution is written on. Betsy Ross sewed our first flag from hemp fabric, and it has flown more kites than even Charlie Brown can dream of. Our forefathers grew it by the tonne.
It's like a rug made of hemp ties the whole room together…
So now we approach another National Birthday, growing that much nearer to a century since the heavy (if leaky) door of Prohibition slammed down on Cannabis, and nearly fifty since it became illegal to grow hemp under federal law. Now we are engaged in a great civil conflict, as many who recognize hemp's usefulness as fuel, food, fiber, oil and construction material, strive to RE-legalize what was once a productive and useful component of agriculture and commerce and Make America Hemp Again.
Many states have passed legislation legalizing the growing of hemp. Farmers in Colorado are harvesting the first hemp crops in decades, and other states are queuing up. The only obstacle is the same thing that obstructs legalization in general - the DEA, and general intransigence of the federal government. But the momentum is growing, and it now appears that fields of hemp will once again wave across the farmlands of America.