The letter below is from Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI 11th 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. Thaddeus McCotter
(R-MI 11th District)
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November 9, 2009
Thank you for informing me of your support for H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.
As you know, the terms "hemp" and "industrial hemp" refer to varieties of Cannabis sativa characterized by low levels of the primary psychoactive chemical (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) in their leaves and flowers. Although total industrial hemp acreage worldwide is small, farmers in more than 30 countries grow the crop commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food. Because of the psychoactive properties of some varieties of Cannabis (which can grow virtually anywhere in the United States), the federal government first began to control production in the late 1930s under the Marihuana Tax Act. In 1970, production of all varieties of Cannabis, regardless of THC content and intended use, became tightly regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, all hemp or hemp-containing products sold in the United States must now be imported or manufactured from imported hemp.
In the early 1990s a sustained resurgence of interest in allowing commercial cultivation of industrial hemp began in the United States. Farmers in regions of the country highly dependent upon a single crop, such as tobacco or wheat, have shown interest in its potential as a high-value alternative crop. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been unwilling to grant licenses for growing small plots of hemp for research purposes. DEA officials express the concern for commercial cultivation potentially increase the likelihood of covert production of high-THC marijuana, significantly complicate DEAs surveillance and enforcement activities, and send the wrong message to the American public concerning the government's position on drugs.
To allow industrial hemp farming, on April 2, 2009, Representative Ron Paul (TX) introduced H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009. If enacted, this legislation would specify the term "marijuana" does not include industrial hemp. Specifically, such a change would mean state law would determine whether producers could grow and process industrial hemp within state borders, under state regulations. Currently, the DEA determines whether any industrial hemp production authorized under a state statute will be permitted, and it enforces standards governing the security conditions under which the crop must be grown. Presently, H.R. 1866 is awaiting action in the House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary Committees.
Rest assured, your thoughts on this important issue will be remembered during the 111th Congress. Again, thank you for contacting me; and for all you do for our community and our country. Should you have any further comments or questions on this or any other issue, please contact me at the Livonia or Milford district, or Washington, D.C. office.
I work for you.
Thaddeus G. McCotter
Member of Congress
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