The letter below is from Rep. Gary Miller to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking him to become a sponsor of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011.
Rep. Gary Miller
(R-CA 42nd District)
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May 20, 2011
Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts on legalizing hemp farming in the United States. I appreciate the benefit of your perspective on this issue.
As you know, hemp products contain varying levels of the hallucinogenic substance tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), which is the primary psychoactive chemical found in the cannabis (marijuana) plant. According to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, THC is a Schedule I controlled substance, no matter what the quantity. The only exception is for Food and Drug Administration-approved drug products. On March 21, 2003, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) created an additional exemption in the law to allow cannabis plants to be used for legitimate industrial products. The DEA exempted cannabis products such as paper, ropes, and clothing from control because they are not intended for human consumption and do not cause THC to enter the human body.
Hemp farming in the U.S. still remains illegal despite this decision, however, because it could provide a loophole in the law that might be exploited by drug traffickers. As you may be aware, legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives to reclassify industrial hemp as a non-controlled substance and thereby legalize industrial hemp farming. However, if natural THC were considered a non-controlled substance, those portions of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana would be legal, regardless of their THC content. This would allow the importation and possession of unlimited quantities of cannabis stalks and sterilized seeds. Drug traffickers would have an essentially limitless supply of raw plant material from which to produce large quantities of a highly potent extract, entirely beyond the reach of law enforcement. To provide such a safe harbor to drug traffickers would be plainly at odds with the purpose and structure of the CSA.
Please be assured that I will work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure America maintains a targeted and effective approach to the war on drugs. Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you will remain in touch in the future on other issues of importance to you.
GARY G. MILLER
Member of Congress