The letter below is from Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to introduce a Senate version of H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
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February 12, 2010
Thank you for contacting me about hemp farming. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, if order for hemp to be grown, hemp must removed from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. Such a change would mean that state law would determine whether producers could grow and process industrial hemp within state borders, under state regulations. Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (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.
The DEA has been unwilling to grant licenses for growing small plots of hemp for research purposes (as authorized by some state laws), and beginning in 1999, it made an effort, which it ultimately abandoned in 2004 following an unfavorable court decision, to ban imports of hemp food products that could contain trace amounts of THC. DEA officials express the concern that commercial cultivation would increase the likelihood of covert production of high-THC marijuana.
This is a complicated matter due to the many agencies involved, and the various issues at hand. Rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should this issue come before me in the Senate.
Thanks again for getting in touch. Please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions or concerns on this or any other matter of importance to you.