The letter below is from Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID 2nd District) to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to become a sponsor for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011.
Rep. Mike Simpson
(R-ID 2nd District)
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May 16, 2011
Thank you for contacting me regarding the cultivation of hemp for industrial uses. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
The hemp plant has a long historical tradition in the United States. The Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and the rigging for the famous warship nicknamed "Old Ironsides", the USS Constitution, were all made of hemp. Hemp is arguably the top renewable resource in the world. It can be used for fuel, paper, cloth, paint, plastic, protein, soap, oil, and over 25,000 other products. In fact, anything made from oil or wood can be produced from hemp. As you may know, the cultivation of hemp was outlawed shortly after the DuPont Corporation received a patent for making nylon from coal, plastic from oil and paper from trees.
While I am opposed to the cultivation and use of marijuana, a close cousin of the hemp plant, there are some merits in the growing of hemp. Because it is an especially resistant plant it needs no pesticides. The reduction in pesticide use would reduce water pollution. The deep roots of the hemp plant cuts down on erosion. Hemp produces four times the paper per acre as trees and can be grown anywhere in the continental United States.
Unfortunately, the hemp plant and its cousin, the marijuana plant, are similar in appearance. This is often a problem because law enforcement officials who sometimes use airplanes and helicopters to conduct searches for illegal marijuana growing. Fields of legal hemp may be mistaken for illegal drug production or more probably some might attempt to produce a crop of marijuana under the auspices of growing hemp. These possibilities and the fact that many groups advocating the legalization of marijuana, something I do not support, use the issue of hemp legalization to gain a certain amount of legitimacy.
Once again, thank you for taking time to write to me with your concerns. The thoughts and opinions of Idahoans are important to me as your Representative in the United States Congress. I also encourage you to visit my website at www.house.gov/simpson to sign up for my e-newsletter and to read more about my views on a variety of issues.
Member of Congress