When growing hemp was a patriotic duty
Chanvrologist John Dvorak has studied hemp and its ban for more than 25 years. Today, years later, he tells us about one of the most fascinating research in the history of hemp. A 14-minute propaganda film made by the US Department of Agriculture in 1942 titled “Hemp for Victory” changed the course of hemp legalization decades later. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, supplies of abaca fiber from the Philippines were cut off. The USDA produced this video to encourage American farmers to grow hemp as part of their patriotic duty during the war.
The short film extolling the industrial benefits of hemp for the war effort was obtained by Bill Conde in 1976. He gave a copy to Jack Herer in 1984. Five years later, Herer and Maria Farrow travel to Washington, DC in hopes of finding real proof of the film's existence in the Library of Congress.
“They didn't have a copy of that movie so we gave them one,” says Farrow. “We found proof that it was done by the government. I know what we have done, what we have seen and what we have proven ”.
Now, long after, another hemp activist, Joe Domino, acquired a treasure trove of 1940s hemp photos and government documents. Domino, who owns a business at Hemp Foods, contacted the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, last November, to ask them to view the microfilm relating to the Department of Agriculture's “War Hemp Program, 1942-1947”.
After finding the photos at the Maryland office in December, he traveled to the Kansas City, Missouri office to do further research in January.
Disclosure of photos of the "Hemp Treasure for Victory"
As the program served the war effort. It was ruthlessly canceled by the government after the end of World War II. All of this, in part thanks to Harry Anslinger, who headed the now-defunct narcotics department. Domino handed over his research to hemp expert John Dvořák.
Domino is also the author of Craig Lee's Kentucky Hemp Story: Memoirs of an Industrual Hemp Activist by Craig Lee.
Here are some of our favorite Hemp photos for the win:
This is a brief summary of the “Hemp for Victory” campaign during WWII. Hemp is included here along with other "submarginal" resources, which means it was not profitable at the time.