Cannabis information resources (III.) - Videos

David P. Watson

International Hemp Association, Postbus 75007, 1070 AA Amsterdam, The Netherlands (e-mail: iha@euronet.nl)

        The purpose of these videos should be to educate and inform those who are presently opposed to, or undecided on medical and industrial Cannabis, in the hope that it will stimulate them to rethink the issues. Videos that only appeal to an audience that is already in favor of these uses are doing very little to educate the larger public and effect change. The most common weaknesses of "hemp" videos are amateurish production, incorrect information, and a focus on recreational marijuana, rather than industrial hemp. In addition, the recreational marijuana issue is often "disguised" within a video with a hempen title. Recreational marijuana, medical Cannabis, and industrial hemp are three separate issues and should be considered on their own merits.
     The most important criterion for evaluation of the following videos was factual correctness. Of 25 videos reviewed, the following 10 represent the best.

Hemp for Victory
Director: Raymond Evans, USA Dept. of Agriculture
Year: 1942
Country: USA
Language: English
Formats: NTSC or PAL (B&W)
Length: 14 min.
Cost: $9.95 + P&H ($3.95 in the US)
Availability: Hemp Times magazine (www.hemptimes.com)
Tel: +1 (800) 681-4367
Content: The American government used this video to explain Americaís need for hemp supplies, especially for navy and industrial use, which were cut off because of W.W.II. The film first explains that to grow hemp in the US, a one dollar license must be obtained. Then it discusses the soil requirements, optimum planting densities and suggests appropriate harvesting, drying, retting, binding, shocking, mechanical processing, and spinning techniques. It also shows the various end products, especially marine ropes. This is a great historical video showing the lengths to which the American government was willing to go, in order to ensure adequate supplies of a necessary war commodity. During the war, 42 hemp mills were set up and more than 240,000 acres of Cannabis were planted, in direct disregard of the governmentís own previous anti-hemp/marijuana campaign.

La Canapa
Director: Centro Divulgazione Agricola, Bologna
Year: 1989
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Format: PAL (B&W and Color)
Length: 31 min.
Cost: $20.00 + P&H (1995)
Availability: Museo della Civiltŗ Contadina, Via S. Marina 35, 40010
Bentivoglio, Italy
Content: In the opening scenes, traditional cultivation and harvesting are portrayed using old B&W photos. Then the folks at the Bologna Museo plant, grow, harvest, and process a 1989 crop, using traditional Italian methods of a century ago. The incredible amount of required hand labor is clearly shown. A collection of working antique seeders, and other planting, harvesting, and processing machines is not to be missed, especially the old steam-powered brakes. The experience of the older hemp workers can be clearly seen by their practiced moves, handling hemp processing in its many stages. The pond water retting is especially interesting, and is one of the reasons that Italian hemp prior to W.W.II was considered the finest in the world.

Hemp, Plant of the Gods
Director: Acorn J. Woods
Year: 1995
Country: Germany
Language: German or English
Format: PAL or NTSC (Color)
Length: 31 min.
Cost: ?
Availability: Die Fuchse,
Gerberbruch 13b, 18055 Rostock, Germany
Tel: +49 381 459-0423
Fax: +49 381 490-8149
Content: The film first discusses the historical aspects of hemp worldwide. A German farmer, an English architect and two American lumber men, travel to France to visit with the folks at Isochanvre and discuss hempís advantages for farms, farmers, and soil. Then they visit a French house made of hemp and discuss the advantages for the home owner and the environment. The video continues with a visit to the Federation National
Du Chanvre for a discussion of the Instituteís R&D activities.

Matt Rensí Hemp Mill
Director: Rens family home movies
Year: 1950ís
Country: USA
Language: English
Format: NTSC (B&W and Color)
Length: 14 min. (Some of the B&W and color scenes are the same.)
Cost: $20.00 + P&H
Availability: Dennis Rens, 1540
Camelot Lane, Minneapolis, MN 55432, USA
Content: The last operating American hemp mill, closed due to government pressure. This priceless video shows the various harvesting and processing methods used in the 1950ís, lots of hand labor!

Hemp the Crop
Director: HempFlax
Year: 1995
Country: The Netherlands
Language: English or Dutch
Format: PAL or NTSC (B&W and
Length: 12 min.
Cost: $15.00 + P&H
Availability: Hemp Museum,
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148, 1012 DV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Content: This begins with a historical B&W overview of traditional hemp uses and the reasons for its being outlawed by many nations. A color film section shows modern industrial hemp production, beginning with sowing the crop using modern seeders. It discusses optimum sowing rates, and shows how optimally planted hemp suppresses competitive weeds. Harvesting begins at the end of July or the beginning of August, when the fiber has reached maximum strength. Harvesters chop the stalks into short lengths and cracks them for faster drying and retting. The stems are turned several times in the field to ensure uniform retting and are then baled for transport to the factory. The separation of the fibers from the
hurds is demonstrated, as are various end products. Excellent general crop information.

More Hemp According to HempFlax
Director: HempFlax
Year: 1997
Country: The Netherlands
Language: English or Dutch
Format: PAL or NTSC (Color)
Length: 12 min.
Cost: $15 + P&H
Availability: Hemp Museum,
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148, 1012 DV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Content: Hemp growing using the
HempFlax method of harvesting, chopping into short lengths, field retting and then baling in square bales to be delivered to the factory for processing. Good pictures, but not much information.

Marijuana as Medicine
Director: Rodger Grant, I-CARE
Year: 1992
Country: USA
Language: English
Format: NTSC (Color)
Length: 18 min.
Cost: US $15.00 incl. P&H; Overseas $17.00 incl. P&H
Availability: I-CARE, Fish Pond Plantation, 1472 Fish Pond Road,
Howardsville VA. 24562, USA
Tel: +1 804 263-4484
Content: Shows the problems associated with using an illegal medicine in the US, discusses health and safety issues, and the history of medical use of Cannabis tinctures from 1850-1937. Cannabis was one of the most widely prescribed medicines until the passage of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which effectively prohibited both recreational and medicinal use of
Cannabis products. The video also describes how the American Medical Association fought the proposed Tax Act and wanted to be able to continue to prescribe Cannabis, and how in 1971, the American government moved Cannabis to its "Schedule 1" prohibiting any medical use. Describes the conditions for which Cannabis can be helpful and discusses the 34 American states that have passed legislation to allow physicians to prescribe Cannabis medicines, but how the federal government has refused to supply Cannabis to these programs. This video is so effective because in their own words, the first five legal medical Cannabis users in the US, their medicine supplied by the American government, present their stories. These include, Elvy Musikka, Cornne Millet and Robert Randell (glaucoma patients), George McMahon receiving relief from spasms and nail patella syndrome, and Irvin Rosenfeld treating the painful effects of bone tumors. It is impossible to watch this video without feeling compassion for these patients.

The Hempen Road
Director: Eiji Masuda
Year: 1997
Country: USA
Language: English
Format: NTSC (Color)
Length: 85 min.
Cost: $25.00 + $9.00 P&H
Availability: 2103 Harrison NW. Suite 2756, Olympia, WA 98502 USA
Tel: +1 (360) 703-3804
Content: This is as much a travelogue of the Pacific northwest as it is a hemp video. The opening credits, sound-track and narration give a good idea of what is in store: a collage of images, sounds and ideas. The video is a whirlwind tour of many northwestern hemp businesses. Some of the more interesting segments include an introduction to Ian Hunter, an activist running for mayor and owner of the Scared Herb in Victoria BC.;
Ecosource paperís discussion of hemp for paper pulp; and the Oregon Tax Act folks discussing marijuana. Cheryl Kolander at Natura Dyeworks, author of Hemp for Textile Artists (see page 116) offers a demonstration of the indigo-dyeing of hemp. WHEN, the Washington Hemp Educational Network presents a discussion of marijuana as medicine with Dennis Peron. Finally, the video moves on to the 1997 Commercial and Industrial Hemp Symposium with speakers Geof Kime of Hempline, Jace Callaway discussing his oil seed crop, Richard Kozlowski of the Natural Fibers Institute, Mari Kane of Hempworld, and John Stahl with the Greenman Paper mill, on paper products, Brian McLay of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, "Dr." Alexander Sumach, Mrs. Jean Pert of Health Canada, David Watson of the IHA and Brian Taylor, mayor of Grand Forks, BC. The symposium ended with closing statements by Sotos Petrides of Wiseman Noble.

The Billion Dollar Crop
Director: Barbara Chobocky & Michael Cordell
Year: 1994
Country: Australia
Language: English
Format: PAL or NTSC (Color)
Length: 75 min.
Cost: $29.95 + P&H
Availability: HempWorld magazine, 8080 Mirabel Avenue, Forestville, CA, USA 95436 (www.hempworld.com).
Content: A bit outdated, but good, it starts with an explanation of hemp and Cannabis and how they were made illegal. Then it introduces Andrew Katelaris, a forensic physician who explains that
Cannabis is no more harmful than alcohol and could help some medical patients, and that low-THC hemp varieties could be good for farmers, but the laws need to be changed to allow its use for fiber and cellulose. This is followed by an overview of historical uses. Patsy and Fritz Harmsen of the Hemp Paper Consortium in Tasmania, discuss her first trials, her frustration with government regulations, and why hemp can save the forests. Then we move on to Ian Low of Hemcore, the first licensed growers in the UK. He discusses his 1,500 acres and 30 farmers, future uses, trials and problems with regulations. This is followed by a discussion of how the marijuana laws began in the USA in 1914 as a result of the racism and fear propaganda spread by Harry Anslinger and William Hearst. Dr. John McWilliams discusses his 5 year research into Harry Anslinger, the man most responsible for Cannabis prohibition in the USA. Dr. John Morgan discusses the health myths associated with marijuana, asking if marijuana could be useful for medicine, and Steve Hager of High Times discusses the beneficial uses of Cannabis. Then off to the Netherlands to discuss how the Dutch government has spent $10 million to research the uses of hemp for paper pulp. Jan Wiada, Utrecht police commissioner, discusses how the Dutch "soft drug" policies do not encourage drug use. IHA editor-in-chief Hayo Van der Werf, one of the 40 agronomists for the Dutch hemp for paper project, discusses seeds and oils and the real costs of cheap wood pulp produced in a non-sustainable way. The Dutch agricultural research center at Wageningen hosts a discussion of experiments with various pulping methods and how hemp would help Hollandís recycling of paper products. In Australia, paper maker Lynn Johnson says that Australia imports $20 million worth of spruce craft pulp, when hemp could do the job. Peter Messenger of Tree Free Paper in the UK continues the hemp for pulp theme. Bill Conde of C&S Lumber in Oregon explains how to use hemp instead of trees for production of bio-composite chipboard, which is followed by a film clip of the 1941 Ford plant-based car reinforced with hemp fiber. Jack Herer discusses how hemp can save the planet, preceding a demonstration of hemp for building bricks, etc. The advantages of using hemp for textiles are covered, how cotton is so polluting to produce and how new harvesting and processing will make hemp as cheap and available and versatile as cotton. Speculations as to the relationship between Anslinger, DuPont and Mellon are presented, including that they conspired to suppress hemp and promote synthetics. The video closes with coverage of how the American government promoted hemp during W.W.II.

The Hemp Revolution
Director: Anthony Clarke
Year: 1996
Country: Australia
Language: English
Format: NTSC or PAL (Color)
Length: 75 min.
Cost: $19.95 + P&H
Availability: HempWorld magazine, 8080 Mirabel Avenue, Forestville, CA, USA 95436 (www.hempworld.com)
Content: More than half of this video is about marijuana. Its strongest points are a better than average production and filming, and an excellent selection of noted
Cannabis experts. This video could have been used to reach a more targeted audience if it separated the issues of industrial hemp and medical Cannabis from its recreational use.
     Beginning in the Himalayas, The Hemp Revolution highlights the Nepalisí diverse uses of the Cannabis plant for food, textiles, fuel, paper pulp and inspiration. The video visits many locations. The noted physician Andrew Weil talks about the many beneficial uses of Cannabis. The advantages of hemp as a pulp source is discussed by John Stahl, as well as several representatives of the Dutch paper project, Jean-Paul Mathieu of FNPC in France, Patsy Harmsen of the Hemp for Paper Consortium in Tasmania and Jim Young of Pulp and Paper magazine.
     Textile use is covered by Andrew Katelaris discussing hempís advantages over cotton. The video then moves through several experts covering many topics, such as Bill Conde on hemp fiber bio-composites, and George Tyson of Xylan Corp. on hemp as a good source of cellulose. Andrew Katelaris discusses the advantages of hemp seed and seed oil, before the theme returns to the many legal uses of Cannabis in Nepal. Hemp as a source of ethanol is explored in interviews with George Tyson and Russell Reeves of Apace Research Ltd., as well as others.
     The next topic covered is medical marijuana with Andrew Weil, Lester Grinspoon, Dennis Peron and Elvy Musikka discussing how modern drug laws have made it difficult to do research on medical marijuana, and the effects of laws on medical patients.
     A lengthy treatment of the recreational and religious issues of marijuana use, marijuana laws, and the costs of the drug war lead up to a discussion of the roots of the legal confusion between industrial hemp and marijuana. The video ends with a plea for the reintroduction of industrial hemp.