The letter below is from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX 21st District) to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to become a sponsor for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.
Rep. Lamar Smith
(R-TX 21st District)
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September 25, 2009
Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 1866, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009."
Industrial hemp comes from a plant that is closely related to that which produces the drug marijuana. Because the two plants are virtually indistinguishable, legalizing industrial hemp would make it increasingly more difficult for drug enforcement officials to monitor illicit drug traffic.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has expressed concern that commercial cultivation of industrial hemp would increase the likelihood of covert production of high-potency marijuana, the most significant source of cash for the violent Mexican drug-trafficking organizations, thereby significantly complicating DEA's surveillance and enforcement activities.
While I understand that the fiber, oil and seed found in hemp plants can be used to produce a number of industrial and commercial products, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce have found that legalization of industrial hemp would actually present little economic benefit to the U.S. These studies found that for every proposed use of industrial hemp, there already exists an available product which is cheaper to manufacture, provides better market results and raises no illicit drug concerns.
H.R. 1866, has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it awaits further legislative action. As Ranking Member of this Committee, I appreciate hearing your views. While I realize we disagree on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me in the future on other matters of concern to you.
For more information on my work in Congress or to send me an electronic message, feel free to visit the 21st District's web site, www.lamarsmith.gov.
Committee on the Judiciary