Millions of people are now rediscovering the benefits of hemp, both as a health remedy in CBD oil and as a raw ingredient in dozens of hemp-based products. But it wasn't always this way. During World War II, the United States government made a film called “Hemp For Victory” to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. The film explains the uses of hemp and how it is cultivated and processed into ropes, fabrics, and other products.
In 1942, patriotic farmers planted 36,000 acres of hemp seeds at the request of the government. The goal for 1943 was 50,000 acres of hemp seeds. This represented an increase of several thousand percent from the pre-war years. Hemp was once an essential part of American life and could be so again. The founders wrote the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper, although they used parchment for the final version that is still preserved today.
Hemp was also used to create ropes for ships such as Old Ironsides, which sailed victoriously with its hemp shrouds and sails. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was briefly repealed to allow the production of hemp fiber during World War II. This was necessary because Japanese people had hemp of Philippine and East Indian origin and jute shipments from India had been reduced. American hemp had to meet the needs of our Army and Navy, as well as our industry. After the war, when hemp cultivation became illegal again, the government hid the existence of the film for years until cannabis activists forced them to bring it back to light. In May 1990, a hemp researcher named John Birrenbach received a different answer from another archiver, who successfully discovered the two reels of the original film. Of course, these hemp-related jobs could not compensate for the shock in the lives of so many innocent people of Japanese descent.
But “HEMP For Victory” offered new opportunities for a handful of these people. The story of “HEMP For Victory” makes it clear that hemp was once an essential part of American life (and in fact, of practically all of humanity), and could be so again. Millions are now rediscovering its benefits and its potential to help us all.