Oh Hemp You’re Our Hero
America had a slogan during World War II, “Hemp for Victory.” The American government hypocritically passed over its 1937 Marijuana Act. The 1937 Marijuana Act banned Hemp, but the government encouraged farmers to grow as much hemp as possible to assist with the war effort. Then America outlawed hemp once again when the war was over.
America was well known for the campaign mentioned above. What isn’t as well known is that America wasn’t the first country to institute such a policy.
America indeed wasn’t the first and only culture or even region to realize the benefits of Hemp.
Hemp In The Early Days.
Four hundred eighty-five years ago, Henry VIII (a king from the House of Tudor) forced farmers in his lands and realms to grow hemp. It was the law and strictly enforced. He may not have had all the bulbs on his tree lit, but one thing he got right was using hemp to improve his country.
If the farmers break the law, then there were stiff penalties with a fine of three shillings for breaking the law. That was about ½ year’s wage for a household servant. You got it! There was a point in time where you got punished for NOT growing hemp. Henry VIII required the cultivation of the plant to make rope, sails, nets, and other naval equipment. Most countries in Europe did not like England during this period. Finally, Henry VIII created one of the first professional navies to counter the threat of other countries.
It was a good thing for England and his daughter/successor. Elizabeth I, (The Virgin Queen), because the invasion was slowly becoming more of reality under her reign. To produce more sails and Naval equipment, The Virgin Queen ordered farmers to grow more than ever before. Also, she heightened the penalty for breaking the law.
The preparations for paying out dividends, the Queen sent this powerful Navy to war against Spain, the global superpower of their century. Finally, England’s hemp-outfitted ships destroyed the notorious Spanish Armada.