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.
The film was made to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply. The film shows a history of hemp and hemp products, how hemp is grown, and how hemp is processed into rope, cloth, cordage, and other products.
As it was made by the US Government, it is public domain and is freely available for download from the Internet Archive.
Before 1989, the film was relatively unknown, and the United States Department of Agriculture library and the Library of Congress told all interested parties that no such movie was made by the USDA or any branch of the U.S. government. Two VHS copies were recovered and donated to the Library of Congress on May 19, 1989 by Maria Farrow, Carl Packard, and Jack Herer.
The only known copy in 1976 was a 3/4″ broadcast quality copy of the film that was originally obtained by William Conde in 1976 from a reporter for the Miami Herald and the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church of Jamaica. It was given in trust that it would be made available to as many as possible. It was put into the hands of Jack Herer by William Conde during the 1984 OMI (Oregon Marijuana Initiative). The film 20 years later is now available anywhere through the internet.