The letter below is from Rep. David Price 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. David Price
(D-NC 4th District)
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June 18, 2012
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011. It is good to hear from you.
I understand that there are many beneficial uses of the hemp portion of the cannabis plant and that the cultivation of industrial hemp could be a good option for many small farmers, as it was for much of our country's history. As you may know, hemp is the term used for those parts of the cannabis plant with relatively little delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, including the stalks and sterilized seeds. THC is the psychoactive compound found primarily in the marijuana portion of the plant, including the flowering tops, leaves, and resin.
Although some countries permit the cultivation of cannabis for the production of industrial hemp, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies marijuana, including that originating from industrial hemp cultivars, as a Class I controlled substance. As a result, cultivation of cannabis requires registration by the DEA based on a determination that it would serve the public interest. Because of fears that marijuana from cannabis grown for industrial hemp could be diverted into the illicit drug trade, the DEA has refrained from granting such registrations.
Critics of the DEA policy point out that cannabis cultivars used to produce industrial hemp have relatively low concentrations of THC relative to plants grown to produce marijuana. For instance, cannabis used to make industrial hemp normally has a THC content of less than one percent, while marijuana cultivars may have THC levels as high as 17 percent.
As you know, H.R. 1831 would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The legislation defines industrial hemp as "the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis." The legislation also would allow states authority to determine whether any such plant meets the exclusion.
H.R. 1831 has been referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. Should the bill come before the full House for consideration, I will evaluate it carefully, keeping your support in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me, and please continue to keep in touch on legislation before the Congress.
Member of Congress
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