The letter below is from Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA 16th 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. Joseph Pitts
(R-PA 16th District)
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October 1, 2009
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009. It was good to hear from you.
As you may know, H.R. 3037 was introduced by Rep. Ron Paul on April 2, 2009. H.R. 1866 would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, in addition to allowing states to determine whether manufactures are complying with federal law in the case of criminal action, civil action, or administrative proceeding. H.R. 1866 has been referred to both the House Energy and Commerce and House Judiciary Committee for further review.
Currently, six states, Hawaii , Kentucky , Maine , Montana , North Dakota , and West Virginia , allow the growing of industrial hemp in accord with state laws. However, federal law requires that all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers. Since 1970, the Federal Controlled Substances Act's has included industrial hemp in the definition of marijuana because industrial hemp contains tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) which are the psychoactive chemical also found in marijuana.
As you know, "industrial hemp" is a term that some use to refer to cannabis plants that are grown to produce fiber and oil used in industrial products. The end products made from cannabis plants, such as paper, rope, clothing, and industrial solvents, are likewise referred to by some as "hemp" products. All cannabis plants -- including those grown for "industrial hemp" -- contain marijuana and (THC), which are hallucinogenic substances listed in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Therefore, as the principal federal agency charged with enforcing the CSA, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is responsible for regulating production of cannabis and cannabis-derived products. Further, at this time it is impossible to grow the marijuana plant for fiber or seeds without also producing plants that contain some amount of the narcotic substance (THC). With this in mind, legalization of industrial hemp would increase the likelihood of covert production of high-THC marijuana plants in fields of industrial hemp, increase usage, and significantly complicate the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) surveillance and enforcement. Rest assured, I will keep your views in mind should H.R. 1866 or related legislation come before the House for a vote.
Thanks for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding any issue that concerns you or your family.
Joseph R. Pitts
Member of Congress