The letter below is from Rep. Martha Roby to a Vote Hemp supporter in reply to a letter asking her to become a cosponsor of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013.
Rep. Martha Roby
(R-AL 2nd District)
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March 4, 2013
Thank you for contacting me about industrial hemp farming. I appreciate hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
Apart from being the source of an illegal drug, hemp is a source of fiber and oilseed that helps produce a variety of consumer and industrial products. Some have expressed an increased interest in legalizing hemp in the U.S. because of its potential to be a profitable alternative crop, particularly in regions that are highly dependent upon a single crop, such as tobacco or wheat.
However, government drug enforcement officials are opposed to legalization because it could complicate the identification and eradication of marijuana and could be perceived as undercutting national anti-drug policies. Currently, cannabis varieties may be legitimately grown for research purposes only. Therefore, all hemp products sold in the United States are imported or manufactured from imported hemp materials.
Specific to your interest, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 (H.R. 525) was introduced on February 6, 2013 by Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY). The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to add language to exempt industrial hemp and permit production based on state law. Currently there are nine states that have legalized the cultivation and research of industrial hemp. Alabama is not one of them.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Judiciary, of which I am not a Member. As you may know, this exact same bill was introduced in the 112th Congress, and no legislative action was taken.
l appreciate you calling this legislation to my attention, and l look forward to following this matter as it moves forward. Please rest assured l will keep your thoughts in mind should H.R. 525 come before the House of Representatives for consideration.
Thank you again for contacting me on this issue. Please feel free to do so in the future on other matters of importance.
Member of Congress