The letter below is from Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL 5th District) to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking her to become a sponsor for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite
(R-FL 5th District)
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November 2, 2009
Thank you for expressing your views on industrial hemp farming. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.
As you know, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) recently introduce H.R. 1866 to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana.
In recent years, the legalization of Cannabis sativa or hemp has become a topic of debate. Proponents of hemp farming argue the potential economic benefits hemp offers and point to Canada's experience since legalizing industrial hemp in 1998 as a success story. However, Canada's development of the hemp industry has produced more difficulties than advantages. Among the problems that Canadian farmers have faced are a lack of innovative technologies for harvesting and processing their crops, teenagers raiding fields with the mistaken belief that marijuana was being grown, and insurmountable obstacles in exportation. Additionally, Canada's head start in the North American hemp industry would likely affect the profitability of America's entry into the market.
Moreover, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) asserts that hemp's commercial cultivation would increase the likelihood of covert production of high- THC marijuana, therefore, significantly complicating DEA surveillance and enforcement efforts in combating illegal drug trafficking. Such a movement sends the wrong message to the American public regarding the government's drug policy. Marijuana has proven to be a "starter drug" for many teenagers who later move on to other illicit drugs. Given the uncertainty that any benefits can be derived from an American hemp industry and the threat it poses to the war on drugs, I oppose the legalization of hemp.
Throughout my tenure in public service, I have always kept an open door and an open dialogue with my constituents. As the 111th Congress addresses the many challenges facing our nation, I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and views with me. Accordingly, I encourage you to visit my Web site at http://brown-waite.house.gov to email me and find useful information about our 5th Congressional District.
It is my honor and privilege to serve the people of Florida's 5th Congressional District and my offices and staff are here to provide you with any assistance you may need.
Member of Congress