The popularity of hemp, CBD, medical and recreational marijuana has recently hit American news streams.
With recreational marijuana now legal in 16 American states (at the time of writing), it’s no wonder!
But hemp is not a new addition to American culture. In fact, Hemp for Victory is a government film that dates back to 1942! In this guide, we’ll explore this film just a little more.
We think you’ll find it as interesting as we did!
What’s So Special About Hemp, Anyway?
You’ve probably heard of about a hundred hemp products on the market.
Hemp cigarettes. Hemp handbags. Hemp-inclusive biofuel. Hemp in your smoothie.
You can even find hemp diapers for your little one.
So, what is hemp, and why does everyone think it’s so great?
Well, there are quite a few reasons. First, it’s super sustainable. It grows fast and replenishes the soil it grows in.
That makes it a great rotation crop for farmers. Plus, it takes very little water to grow hemp, so that makes it even more eco-friendly.
Another reason this little plant is so popular is that it makes fantastic fabric.
Cloth made from hemp is strong and durable, holds its shape, is resistant to UV rays and is very soft.
That means it’s great for everything from clothing to outdoor furnishings to military- and industrial-grade equipment.
There are plenty more reasons hemp is a popular crop in the United States and in other nations.
But we’re here to talk about Hemp for Victory, so let’s move on to look at that government film a little more closely.
What Was Hemp Used for in WW2?
Hemp fabric has been around for a very long time.
In fact, hemp cloth remnants found in Iraq dated back to around 8000 BCE. Europeans began to spin the fabric in about 1200 BCE, and its popularity took off.
During WWII, fabric was in short supply.
Much of the Western world’s production of all types of goods was significantly slowed as focus shifted to the war effort.
Because of its strength and durability, hemp fabric was quickly recognized as a quick-growing and easy-to-farm alternative to traditional fibers.
In fact, Hemp for Victory was created by the United States government to show farmers just how versatile a crop it could be.
In 1937, The Marihuana Tax Act (now referred to as the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act) was passed to heavily tax the sale of cannabis products.
Congress stated that cannabis was the most violence-inducing drug known to man.
But, as governments do, they quickly recanted this during WWII—after all, hemp was valuable to the government’s goals.
So why not encourage farmers to grow more of it?
Hemp for Victory
The United States government released Hemp for Victory in 1942.
The short film can still be seen online, and can be interesting to watch. Please note that the video does include some underlying racism.
The movie is approximately 15 minutes long and explains to farmers across America how hemp is used, and why and how it should be grown.
From ships’ sails to anchors, hemp was the government’s answer to outfitting the military with available materials.
Not surprisingly, there weren’t too many people who have heard of the short film Hemp for Victory.
As you might expect, after the war was over and the supply of raw materials returned to normal, the United States government quickly hid the existence of the video.
Thankfully, that piece of American history was restored in 1989.
A group of cannabis activists somehow got their hands on VHS copies of Hemp for Victory. Gradually, the video was restored to the public domain, and can be seen in various places on the internet.
Hemp: Its Legal Status Today
It was, in part, due to the resurfacing of Hemp for Victory that hemp products have been decriminalized in the United States.
In one short video, the United States government covered a history of hemp and its industrial importance.
The 2018 Farm Bill signed into law the farming of hemp for industrial purposes.
Little by little, cannabis products like CBD (cannabidiol) and even tetrahydrocannabinol (THC–the ingredient in cannabis that gets you high) are becoming more mainstream and accepted.
The legality of hemp still varies from state to state.
But, as a whole, the crop has been decriminalized at a federal level.
Farmers across the country can harvest cannabis plants with the proper licenses and background checks.
Summary: Hemp for Victory
Hemp for Victory isn’t the most well-known of American government films.
But the short movie is quite interesting, and important to the legalization of this important crop.
The film’s reintroduction into public view played an important role in the legalization of hemp itself.