The many uses and value of hemp are described in this educational film produced by the U.S. government, which encouraged hemp production during WWII. [ Hemp for Victory credits: Dir: Raymond Evans/ 13 min/ Documentary/ Legalize drugs, Propaganda]
Hemp is given a loving portrait in the documentary short Hemp for Victory, which touches upon its romantic history as well as its many practical uses. But that’s not why this film is so widely circulated today. Its modern popularity has more to do with the stark contrast between the film’s ebullient pro-hemp character and current U.S. government anti-hemp messaging related to the War on Drugs; the irony of that contrast has not been lost on hemp legalization advocates.
Additionally, the now-legendary story of how the film came to light has made it of broader interest to civil liberties advocates. Up until 1989, it was not only lost and forgotten but U.S. government officials allegedly denied it had ever been made, until a recovered copy of it was pointedly delivered to the Library of Congress by Mia Farrow, Carl Packard and Jack Herer.
This delightful short film has served this country well — first doing its bit in the good fight against foreign WWII fascism, and today as an Orwellian warning about government’s flexible relationship with the truth.
How to See It
“Few are aware of hemp’s history in the U.S. as a cash crop, or the lengths that the government went to suppress that history. One of the most remarkable examples is Hemp For Victory, an educational film produced by the USDA in 1942 that encouraged farmers to grow hemp. After the war, when growing hemp again became illegal again, the government hid the existence of the film for years until pro-cannabis activists forced them to bring it back into the light.”
–Ministry of Hemp