The letter below is from Rep. John Carney to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to become a cosponsor of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011.
Rep. John Carney
(D-DE At Large)
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August 17, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about industrial hemp. I appreciate your thoughts and input on this important subject.
Industrial hemp has been used for centuries as a source for fiber, oilseed, rope, and a variety of industrial products. While more than thirty countries grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, the United States is not one of them. Though industrial hemp was grown in the U.S. from colonial times until the 1950's, federal regulations and prohibitions have ended the production of industrial hemp within the United States.
As you may know, Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act in 1970, which made the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana a federal crime. Marijuana and hemp come from the same plant, but are genetically different. THC (the primary psychoactive chemical in cannabis) levels in marijuana tend to be between 10 to 30 percent, while THC levels in hemp tend to be less than 1 percent. Despite this chemical difference, hemp is still covered under the law, making it illegal to grow the crop without permission from the Department of Agriculture.
On May 11, 2011, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. H.R. 1831 amends the Controlled Substance Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. H.R. 1831 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, upon which I do not serve. Should this bill come before the 112th Congress, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.
I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I take seriously the trust Delawareans have placed in me and my responsibility to represent them in Congress, and I look forward to serving you in the coming years.
Member of Congress