Monday, April 6, 2009

Hemp For Victory

Hemp for Victory is a black-and-white film produced in 1942 by the USDA outlining a plan to distribute 400,000 lbs. of cannabis seeds to American farmers with the goal of producing 350,000 acres of cannabis by 1943 -- all for the war effort. The USDA even went as far as to urge 4-H clubs to grow at least half an acre, but preferably 2 acres of cannabis. All American farmers were required to see the film, sign a paper saying that they had viewed the film, and read a booklet on the matter. Farmers who agreed were waived from serving in the military, and all their family members were also exempt. They received farm equipment at a discounted price, and sometimes for free. However, before and after the war -- the same plant was considered "demon weed" and the killer of the same kids that were pressed into service to grow it during the war. Furthermore, the USDA and Library of Congress denied the creation or existence of such a film until 2 copies were found and sent in to the Library of Congress. Talk about hypocrisy.

1 comment:

Lily said...

Ah, indeed, the hypocrisy! I wonder how that coincides with the mass herbicide sprays to kill the remaining naturally growing hemp in the Northwestern US. I have been following your blog for a while and since you are a fan of visual anthropology I thought I would suggest these films about the Women of Tibet: They are a series of three one-hour docs (the third is still under production). The first film is about the Dalai Lama's mother, the 2nd film is about three generations of Tibetan women and the Tibetan Women's Uprising. They are both incredibly well-made, screen on PBS, and are great education tools. Enjoy! Hope to see an entry about them!