In 1937, the United States outlawed Marihuana as the most deadly narcotic ever known, saying it caused murder, rape and incurable insanity. With passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, any farmer growing hemp without a license was henceforth a criminal. The US Treasury Dept. refused to issue any licenses, making Marihuana production illegal in the US.
In 1941, Henry Ford created a biodegradable plastic car body from hemp, sisal and wheatstraw. The body panels were thinner, lighter, and stronger than steel. A video shows Henry Ford beating the plastic trunk lid with an axe, and the axe is bouncing off, not even scratching the car.
In 1942, the United States legalized Marihuana to support our troops in World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the US faced a shortage of materials because imports of fiber from SouthEast Asia were cut off by the Japanese. In 1942, the US Department of Agriculture created a 14-minute instructional film for American farmers titled Hemp For Victory on how to cultivate and harvest Cannabis Sativa for the war effort:
While legalized Cannabis fibers were mainly used for Naval rigging, the film shows that legal pot also created boot laces, uniforms, and parachutes. One such parachute was used by George HW Bush when his bomber was shot down over the Pacific. Shown three minutes into the film is the license that allowed Americans to be a legal PRODUCER OF MARIHUANA - the same natural weed that we are still told today is "the most dangerous drug menace in history." Farmers who agreed to grow Marihuana for the military were exempted from the draft, along with their sons.
It is arguable that had the US not legalized Marihuana in 1942, the US would not have had the necessary equipment to engage in a two-front World War, and the geopolitical climate of the entire planet could be drastically different than it is now. And it is important to consider how our history would be different if this plan were reinstated during Vietnam. All of those pot-growing, draft-dodging, long-haired, Pinko-loving, Commie hippies would have been patriots contributing to the war effort. Would we have had a Kent State? Would we have even been in Vietnam trying to secure trade routes and increase our influence in the region for things that could be produced domestically from weed?
How would our society change if this plan were reinstated now? What if all of those lazy stoners out there were not committing a crime, but instead were contributing to our national defense? What if the pot that Americans grow could be used to make equipment for our military and law enforcement personnel fighting in the War on Terror? Or even the War on Drugs?
The most common argument is, "We have better synthetic materials now so we don't need to legalize pot." To which the counter-argument is, "Those synthetic materials are currently derived from petrochemicals, so even Nylon makes us dependent on foreign oil."