The letter below is from Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to introduce a Senate version of H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
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July 16, 2010
Thank you for contacting to share your support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you know, the term "industrial hemp" refers to cannabis plants that are grown to produce fiber and oil used in industrial products such as paper, rope, clothing, industrial solvents, and animal feed. Other hemp products include foods such as nutrition bars, salad dressings and beer, and personal care products such as shampoo, creams, and lotions.
As you know, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. This bill, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, has been referred to the House Committees on Judiciary and Energy and Commerce. While no companion bill has been introduced in the Senate, I will keep your support for this bill in mind.
In October 2001, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published three rules in the Federal Register (66 FR 5153051544) that make illegal any hemp products that could cause THC, a psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, to enter the human body. Manufacturers and distributors of THC containing hemp products made for human consumption were given 120 days, until February 6, 2002, to dispose of such products. The Hemp Industries Association contested these rules in court, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked their implementation. More than 115,000 public comments against the new rules were submitted to the DEA. The final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on February 21, 2003, would have banned the sale of all hemp food products by April 21, 2003. The Hemp Industries Association once again requested a stay, which the Ninth Circuit granted on April 16, 2003. On February 6, 2004, the Ninth Circuit permanently prohibited the enforcement of the DEA's final rule (68 FR 14113).
Thanks again for contacting me. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Russell D. Feingold
United States Senator