In 1937 industrial hemp was caught up in the marijuana tax legislation making it uneconomical to grow. However in 1942, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, supplies of abaca fiber from the Philippines were cutoff. The USDA quickly produced this Hemp for Victory video to teach and encourage American farmers to grow hemp as part of their patriotic duty during the war. In 1942 over 36,000 acres of hemp were grown in the U.S.
When the war was over the restrictions were reinstated again making the growing of industrial hemp uneconomical.
Hemp for Victory
The film was made to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply. The film shows a history of hemp and hemp products, how hemp is grown, and how hemp is processed into rope, cloth, cordage and other products.
Before 1989, the film was relatively unknown. The United States government denied ever having made such a film. The United States Department of Agriculture library and the Library of Congress told all interested parties that no such movie was made by the USDA or any branch of the U.S. government. Two VHS copies were recovered and donated to the Library of Congress on 19 May 1989 by Maria Farrow, Carl Packard, and Jack Herer.
The only known copy in 1976 was a 3/4″ broadcast quality copy of the film that was originally obtained by William Conde in 1976 from a reporter for the Miami Herald and the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church of Jamaica. It was given in trust that it would be made available to as many as possible. It was put into the hands of Jack Herer by William Conde during the 1984 Oregon Marijuana Initiative. The film is now available in numerous locations on the Internet.
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