The letter below is from Sen. Dianne Feinstein to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking her to become a cosponsor of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
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July 15, 2013
Thank you for writing to me concerning your support for the industrial application of cannabis sativa L (hemp). I appreciate hearing from you on this issue, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
Currently, it is illegal in the U.S. to grow cannabis for industrial purposes, although products containing "hemp" are legally imported from other nations and sold in the U.S. On February 14, 2013, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act" (S. 359), which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp in states that have permitted the substance to be grown. S. 359 is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Wyden also introduced this bill as an amendment to the 2013 Senate Farm Bill (S. Amdt. 952). However, this amendment did not receive a vote before the full Senate and was therefore not included in the final version of the Senate Farm Bill.
All cannabis, including hemp, contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. I have concerns that legislation like S. 359 and S. Amdt. 952 could unintentionally weaken the Controlled Substances Act by allowing for the growth or manufacturing of a product containing THC, which is currently illegal under federal law. For example, the Drug Enforcement Administration recently reported that cannabis plants with a relatively low THC concentration provide a substantial source of psychoactive material that would be readily exploited by drug seekers if such plants could be easily acquired. Using a relatively simple and inexpensive process of chemical extraction, readily available on the Internet, hemp could be readily converted into a highly potent concentrate known as "hash oil."
Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. I hope you will continue to keep in touch on issues that are important to you. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to call my Washington D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.
United States Senator
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