The letter below is from Sen. Orrin Hatch 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. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
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July 13, 2012
Thank you for your letter supporting an amendment to the farm bill that would allow for regulated, industrial hemp farming in the United States. I appreciate you taking the time to write.
As you mentioned, Senator Ron Wyden introduced an amendment to the farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Acts of 2012 (S. 3240). If enacted this amendment would exempt industrial hemp from current marijuana enforcement laws. This amendment was not considered during debate of the farm bill. On June 21, 2012, the Senate passed S. 3240, and the bill now awaits further action in the House. I voted against passage of this legislation, as I believe it does little to control federal spending and fails to consider our nation's fiscal situation.
That said, I would like to share some of my thoughts concerning industrial hemp. Because hemp contains hallucinogenic substances that are listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, hemp products are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Officials at the DEA inform me that they believe the law precludes sale of any hemp product which may be ingested, regardless of how much tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the active ingredient in the marijuana plant, that product may contain.
The DEA has exempted products that do not cause THC to enter the human body, such as paper, rope, clothing, and soap. DEA officials advise me they believe this strikes a fair balance between allowing the continued use of industrial products while maintaining the long-standing prohibition under federal law of human consumption of Schedule I controlled substances. Because of these restrictions on the sale of hemp products, it seems that production would have limited success as a new agricultural market.
Please know that I do value your input and hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with me.
Again, thank you for writing.
Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator