The letter below is from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to introduce a Senate version of H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
A note for the reader: Sen. Charles Grassley is the co-chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. Hemp fibers don't contain THC and are exempt from the definition of marihuana in the Controlled Substances Act. Also, please see his constituent reply letter from July 17, 2009 for a longer version of his take on the issue.
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June 18, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. As your Senator, it's important for me to hear from you. Please accept my apology for the delay in my response.
I appreciate knowing of your support for H.R. 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011. This bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marijuana", and would define "industrial hemp" to mean the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-nine tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. Additionally, it would define Cannabis sativa L. to meet that concentration limit if a person grows or processes it for purposes of making industrial hemp in accordance with state law.
Over the years, many people have expressed the view that marijuana should be legalized for several purposes, including for agricultural purposes. However, I disagree with this view. Marijuana is illegal because it is dangerous. When you smoke marijuana, or use any other drug, it changes your brain. It changes the way you think, your ability to learn, and how well you can remember. Making marijuana a legal drug will not change any of this. The laws granting the federal government the authority over the movement and sale of these dangerous substances is well established and has been thoroughly reviewed by the courts.
Cannabis sativa is a tall, Asian herb known also as hemp, and best known for its psychoactive properties. The name "hemp" is also used to refer to a wide variety of fiber-bearing plants. Other plants that are part of the hemp family include Sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea), a fiber plant harvested in India and other parties of Asia. Abaca or Manila hemp (Musa textilis) grown in the Philippines and other Pacific Islands; Mauritius hemp (Furcraea gigantean) grown in Africa; New Zealand hemp (Phormium tenax); India hemp (Corchorus capsularis), also known as "jute;" various forms of sisal (Agave sisalana) grown in Africa and the West Indies; and Cuban or Mexican sisal (Agave fourcroydes). Today, all of these fibers are used primarily in the manufacturing of rope and twine.
While the various forms of hemp are still being grown and used in less developed countries, except as a novelty item, hemp, for anything other than garden twine or burlap, cannot compete. Other than as a psychotropic drug, hemp has not proved to be a viable crop in any nation where its production is legal. And other than the profits that could be easily made by selling true hemp to those wanting to use marijuana to get high, no evidence exists that legalizing marijuana will provide any growth to the legitimate economy. It should be noted that true hemp (Cannabis sativa) is the only type of hemp fibers that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Due to the greater potential for abuse when compared to the possible uses and benefits, I cannot favor promoting cannabis sativa as a legitimate alternative crop. It seems that the main reason hemp is being put forward as a legitimate crop is to promote the legalization of marijuana. That is something I cannot support.
While the battle against illegal drugs is a battle that may never end, I strongly believe that this is a battle we must continue to fight. The use of drugs has been recorded since the beginning of history. Absolute success isn't necessary to justify our efforts to curb the harm caused by illegal drugs. The dramatic increase in crime in this country coincides almost exactly with years in which we virtually stopped enforcing our drug laws, years in which drug use soared. As we have gotten tougher on drugs, crime rates have fallen and so has drug use. Interestingly, as we have seen the anti-drug message diminish, we have seen a corresponding increase in teenage drug use along with corresponding increases in violent crimes among teenagers. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s when we saw the affects of the legalization of drugs. The results were disastrous for individuals and society.
Thank you again for contacting me. I hope you found this information helpful. Please keep in touch.