Jah Billah intro:
There is still some confusion about cannabis plant being used as hemp or marijuana. This text will clear the confusion and show how propaganda made one plant into two varieties: drugless hemp and deadly marijuana.
At this time we should all acknowledge that cannabis saved entire world in World War. It’s time to grow hemp for peace.
The U.S. government was able to make hemp illegal for the United States citizens because it was constructed as a threat to society. This threat was overlooked as the advent of World War II created a problem for the U.S. industrial fiber supplies. The U.S. knew it would quickly use up the hemp stores it had along with the abaca and jute, other industrial strength fibers imported from the Philippines and Asia.
This shortage was critical because imports from the South Pacific, necessary for maintaining the armed forces, were no longer available. In this context the federal government was forced to contradict the laws against the threat of hemp, and thus began a campaign to make hemp patriotic. They’ realized the only way to get strong fibers for defense, cloth, rope, and gear was to grow it domestically. Thus began the federal government’s Hemp for Victory campaign to help farmers to grow hemp once more.
By creating a guaranteed market for the hemp and using educational campaigns farmers were encouraged to grow hemp.
The peak of the Hemp for Victory campaign was in 1945 and 1944. Estimates of the tonnage of hemp grown in those two years are about 75,000 tons in 1945 and 150,000 tons in 1944.
In 1945 there was a wealth of articles written about growing hemp. Some showed a concern about growing marijuana. One expressed this fear by stating,
“What can be done to keep these enormous (75,000 tons) new supplies, from which there almost inevitably will be ‘leaks’, out of their (depraved addicted creatures) twitching hands?”, the government conveniently reconstructed hemp in order to calm these masses, which were afraid because of the 1920s construction of hemp.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that it created a strain of “drugless hemp” through breeding techniques.
At this point the government began a thorough contradiction of its hemp policies.
As part of the new campaign, the USDA issued the movie Hemp for Victory in 1942 to tell of the advantages of growing hemp for the war effort. Although this movie, along with other forms of government documentation of the campaign, has been removed from public view, a few pieces can be found.
In fact, the transcript of the movie is available on the internet (USDA 1942).
In the movie the USDA states that the decline of hemp was due to an increase in imports:
“then came cheaper imported fibers for cordage, like jute sisal and Manila hemp, and the culture of hemp in America declined.”.
In this movie there is no mention of marijuana.
They conveniently separate them and create hemp into a harmless plant once more. In fact, hemp becomes a symbol of patriotism. The movie concludes with this imagery:
When the Manila hemp reserve is gone, American hemp will go on
duty again: hemp for mooring ships; hemp for low lines; hemp for tackle
and gear; hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore. Just as
in the days when Old Ironsides sailed the seas victorious with her hempen
shrouds and hempen sails. Hemp for Victory.
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the reversal of the Hemp for Victory campaign is the education given to children of farmers. There were 4-H programs in place encouraging students to grow hemp. “Growing hemp gives 4-H members a real opportunity to serve their country in wartime…. Labor requirements do not interfere with school work.”
The plant was safe enough for America’s children to grow as a 4-H project when in a bind. There was no mention of careful handling, and no warning that they would be growing a dangerous plant. There was an outline of a typical growing season and a “hemp seed record” to keep track of the plants and quantities harvested.
The government heavily encouraged farmers to grow hemp. They were paid $30 to $50 a ton for the hemp fibers. The only rule was that a row of some other crop should surround the hemp field so that no one could access the hemp easily.
Through all of the favorable publicity for hemp there were some warnings of things to come.
There was a mentality created that only poor countries grow hemp, which is why U.S. farmers would no longer need to grow hemp after the war.
“Although hemp is a very favorable crop now- in all probability after the war, we will find that it will again lose some of its importance. We cannot compete with the cheap labor of the East, and the hand separated hemp is superior [to mechanically separated hemp].”
After World War II ended, the anti-hemp constructions resurfaced. Hemp cultivation was no longer allowed without permits, special taxes, and DEA initiated intervention once more. Hemp was no longer patriotic, but a threat. People returned to either viewing hemp as the dangerous marijuana or as a crop only developing countries, such as the Philippines, should grow.
Wisconsin was the only exception to the rule. Until 1958 they continued to grow hemp, despite strong federal opposition. So even the federal government had to contradict its own law to use hemp.
There was no other substitute for the crop in a time of war. Hemp is a good plant when it saves the country, but a bad plant in peacetime.
Industrial Hemp (Cannabis savita L): The Geography of a Controversial Plant
April M. Luginbuhl, 2001. California Geographer
Hemp for Victory