The letter below is from Rep. Don Young (R-AK At Large) to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to become a sponsor for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.
Rep. Don Young
(R-AK At Large)
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September 11, 2008
Thank you for your correspondence regarding industrial hemp, and its possible legalization. H.R. 1009, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marijuana." The bill defines "industrial hemp" to mean the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant with a delta-nine tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration that does not exceed 3 percent on a dry weight basis. The bill also grants the States all the regulatory power over the growing and processing of industrial hemp. Additionally, the bill gives States exclusive authority in this matter, in any criminal or civil action or administrative proceeding, to determine whether any such plant meets that concentration limit.
As you know, hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes, including the manufacturing of cordage of varying tensile strength, clothing, and nutritional products. The oil from the fruits ("seeds") dries on exposure to air (similar to linseed oil) and is sometimes used in the manufacturing of oil-based paints, or for cooking. Hemp seeds are often added to wild bird seed mix. In Europe and China, hemp fibers are increasingly being used to strengthen cement, and in other composite materials for many construction and manufacturing applications. Mercedes-Benz uses a "biocomposite" composed principally of hemp fiber for the production of interior panels in some of its automobiles. As of 2006, China produces roughly 40% of the world's hemp fiber and has been producing much of the world's Cannabis crop throughout much of history.
Hemp use in the United States is suppressed by laws supported by drug enforcement agencies, for fear that high THC plants will be grown amidst the low THC plants used for hemp production. This is also a concern for me; that this could lead to an increase in Cannabis consumption through an increased supply in the market.
However, hemp is extremely beneficial to the environment. It helps eliminate deforestation because it produces four times as much paper as trees and grows much faster (up to 16 feet in only 110 days). According to the American Hemp Historic Association, when hemp is nourished with milk, or any high calcium fluid, it grows stronger and faster. Hemp paper also can be bleached with little or no chemicals. Hemp is an ecologically friendly substitute for cotton and while cotton uses 25% of the Earth's pesticides, hemp does not need any. Cotton also requires heavy irrigation while hemp flourishes with very little watering.
H.R. 1009 has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary. Unfortunately I am not a member of these committees. But I assure you I will be monitoring this issue closely.
Once again, thank you for expressing your views on this issue. If you haven't already done so, I would encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at http://donyoung.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm. This will allow me to provide you with updates on this and other important issues. If I can be of any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Congressman for All Alaska