The letter below is from Sen. Kent Conrad to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to become an original cosponsor of the Senate version of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
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May 18, 2011
Thank you for contacting me about industrial hemp production. It was good to hear from you. You expressed your support for the legalization of industrial hemp. As you know, cannabis is included on the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) controlled substance list. Therefore, producers must possess a DEA permit to grow the plant. Some states, including North Dakota, allow industrial hemp production. However, the DEA has repeatedly denied licenses for hemp production. It believes that granting permits would increase covert marijuana production and make drug surveillance and enforcement activities more difficult.
In particular, you mentioned your support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 1831). This legislation would allow commercial production of industrial hemp. Representative Ron Paul introduced this bill in the House of Representatives on May 11, 2011, and it was referred to the House Judiciary and Commerce Committees. Similar legislation has not been introduced in the Senate. Please know I will keep your views in mind should H.R. 1831 or other relevant legislation come before the Senate.
Again, thank you for contacting me.
United States Senate