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.
This documentary covers a whole lot of ground. It deals with every historical and contemporary aspect of hemp usage and cultivation (mainly in the U.S.), which turns out to be a lot. From describing the production of a fibre much more durable and economic than wood, the documentary discusses hemps multilateral uses as e.g. food products, as a non-polluting fuel and as a pharmaceutical product with much less griveous sideeffects than chemical pharmaceutical products.
The film also investigates why America went from a country which produced vast quantities of the non-narcotic industrial hemp, to the complete ban on hemp production in 1938. This story in particular is interesting, and it points out that the large oilbased industries actually had a key role in the aforementioned ban. Food for thought!
How Weed Won The West is a 2010 documentary by writer/director Kevin Booth about Marijuana, the Marijuana-Prohibition, Marijuana-Business and the Legalizing Movement in the United States.
Plot: With California and the rest of the country going bankrupt, one business is booming. How Weed Won the West is the story of the growing Medical Marijuana industry, focusing on Los Angeles with over 1000 legal dispensaries doling out the buds. Following the story of Organica, a southland dispensary which was raided by state and federal agencies in August of 2009, the film shows that although much has changed with Obama in office, the drug war is nowhere near over. Kevin Booth, producer/director of American Drug War, picks up where the last film left off and continues his fight against the hypocrisy of the War on Drugs. Intended to inform and entertain, this fast paced and even sometimes funny film features Texas conspiracy guru Alex Jones, Ethan Nadelmann head of Drug Policy Alliance, and a host of amazing characters including a former LAPD narcotics officer who now thinks all drugs should be legal.
Grass: History of Marijuana is a 1999 Canadian documentary film directed by Ron Mann, premiered in Toronto Film Festival, about the history of the United States government’s war on marijuana in the 20th century.
The film places much of the blame for marijuana criminalization on Harry Anslinger (the first American drug czar) who promoted false information about marijuana to the American public as a means towards abolition.
The film follows the history of federal policies and social attitudes towards marijuana, beginning at the turn of the twentieth century. The history presented is broken up into parts, approximately the length of a decade. Each decade is introduced by paraphrasing the official attitude towards marijuana at the time (e.g. “Marijuana will make you insane” or “Marijuana will make you addicted to heroin”), and closed by providing a figure for the amount of money spent during that period on the “war on marijuana.”
The film is completely composed of archival footage, much of which is from public domain U.S propaganda films and feature films such as Reefer Madness made available by the Prelinger Archives. The documentary was narrated, free-of-charge, by actor Woody Harrelson.
Reefer Madness (aka Tell Your Children) is a 1936 government propaganda film demonizing marijuana – to ban hemp which competes with OIL! A hit and run accident, manslaughter, suicide, rape, and descent into madness all ensue. The film was directed by Louis Gasnier and starred a cast composed of mostly unknown bit actors. It was originally financed by a church group and made under the title Tell Your Children.The film was intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use. However, soon after the film was shot, it was purchased by producer Dwain Esper, who re-cut the film for distribution on the exploitation film circuit. The film did not gain an audience until it was rediscovered in the 1970s and gained new life as a piece of unintentional comedy among cannabis smokers. Today, it is in the public domain in the United States and is considered a cult film. It inspired a musical satire, which premiered off-Broadway in 2001, and a Showtime film, Reefer Madness, based on the musical.