The letter below is from Sen. David Vitter to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to support Sen. Ron Wyden's industrial hemp amendment to the Farm Bill.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
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June 15, 2012
Thank you for contacting me in support of legislation to allow the growing of industrial hemp. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
As you know, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced legislation that would allow American farmers to grow hemp. Several states have already passed similar laws differentiating industrial hemp from marijuana and allowing its cultivation. However, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency continues to strictly enforce the federal ban on all hemp.
Industrial hemp was once widely grown in America and used to make a variety of products, including rope, paper and fabric. However, hemp production in the U.S. declined due to competition from other materials and then ceased with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, as the variety of the Cannabis plant grown for industrial hemp became associated with the variety cultivated for drug use. Industrial hemp advocates argue that the plant has been unfairly vilified and that it could be a valuable cash crop for American farmers with a wide range of uses. Opponents of legalizing hemp production, including the DEA, argue that legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp will make it easier to covertly grow drug-grade marijuana and lead to difficulty in enforcing drug laws. Rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate considers this legislation.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me again in the future about other issues important to you.
United States Senator