The letter below is from Rep. Norman Dicks (D-WA 6th 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. It looks like the staffer that wrote this constituent reply letter on the issue of industrial hemp, Googled the words DEA hemp then copied and pasted the second paragraph of an eight year old DEA press release into the letter. Hemp foods remain legal in the U.S., as does the domestic production of body care products made with hemp oil, because of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in HIA v. DEA.
Rep. Norman Dicks
(D-WA 6th District)
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December 4, 2009
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
"Hemp" and marijuana are actually separate parts of the species of plant known as cannabis. Under federal law, Congress defined marijuana to focus on those parts of the cannabis plant that are the source of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). THC is the hallucinogenic substance in marijuana that causes the psychoactive effect or "high." The marijuana portions of the cannabis plant include the flowering tops (buds), the leaves, and the resin of the cannabis plant. The remainder of the plant — stalks and sterilized seeds — is what some people refer to as "hemp." However, "hemp" is not a term that is found in federal law.
While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, have been found to contain THC. The existence of THC in hemp is significant because THC, like marijuana, is a schedule 1 controlled substance. Federal law prohibits human consumption and possession of schedule 1 controlled substances.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published rules that clarify which hemp products are legal and which are not. This depends on whether or not the product causes THC to enter the human body. If the product does cause THC to enter, it is an illegal substance that may not be manufactured, sold, or consumed in the United States. Such products include hemp foods and beverages that contain THC. If, however, the product does not cause THC to enter the human body, it is a noncontrolled substance that may lawfully be sold in the United States. Included in the category of lawful hemp products are textiles, such as clothing made using fiber produced from cannabis plant stalks. Also in the lawful category are personal care products that contain oil from sterilized cannabis seeds, such as soaps, lotions, and shampoos.
As you know, Representative Ron Paul recently introduced a bill, H.R. 1866, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The bill would repeal the federal ban on the cultivation of industrial hemp as a commercial crop and would allow states the legal authority to license and regulate hemp cultivation without conflicting with federal law.
H.R. 1866 is currently pending in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. You may be assured that I am closely monitoring its progress and will certainly keep your comments in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on this or similar legislation.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to do so on any issue of concern to you.
Member of Congress