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Marijuana - Medical Information

February 22, 1995

Philip W. Perry

Special Agent in Charge

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Rocky Mountain Division Field Headquarters

115 Inverness Dr. East

Englewood, CO 80112

Mr. Perry:

This letter is in response to your fax of February 16, 1995. Let me say at the beginning that it is, at the very least, unfortunate that this "dialog" is taking place after the Committee hearing on SB 95-132.

Contrary to what you may believe, I respect your organization and can appreciate the difficulty of your position, but I do not agree with the way you handled SB 95-132. As the author of that Bill, I stand behind my work and take personal offense to your letter. Your comments and concerns regarding that Bill could have been helpful had you responded to my letter of January 12 or returned one of my many phone calls, seeking comment from your office. Instead you waited to respond until two hours before the final Committee hearing. Thus making a response or amendment impossible and effectively ambushing our efforts. Nevertheless, your comments should not and will not go unanswered.

First, and perhaps most damaging, were your comments regarding the federal law. You may be "an expert in drug law enforcement," but you are not a lawyer and it seems from your comments that you are not an expert in the law. Your letter represents a serious misreading of federal law and a misunderstanding of Congressional policy. At no time, since cannabis was first regulated in 1937, has Congress ever expressed an intent to outlaw the legitimate hemp industry. At Congressional hearings after the World War II "Hemp for Victory" campaign, Will S. Wood, Deputy Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (forerunner of your organization), guaranteed that marijuana regulation would not have a negative impact on the commercial hemp industry. Congress provided for regulation of the hemp industry in all its legislation until the early 1970s. When Congress stopped, the right to regulate commercial hemp farmers reverted back to the states under the tenth amendment. The federal government continues to recognize the legitimacy of the hemp industry in international treaties and by failing to list hemp producing nations as "drug source" countries for marijuana. Finally on June 3, 1994, President Clinton signed Executive Order 12919 which includes hemp in a list of essential national resources. The federal law is far from clear regarding the interplay between federal marijuana laws and the legitimate hemp industry. At a minimum, this is a question to be resolved by a federal court after appropriate argument, not one that can be dictated by your uninformed supposition.

Second, you candidly admit that you are not an expert in crop economics, but only after you write that, "The claims. . . that Colorado would derive some economic benefit from the commercial production of. . . [hemp are] deceptive." At least thirty nations, including France, England, Australia, Canada and China, disagree with your conclusions. Each has, or is developing, a commercial hemp industry. The Chinese government recently allocated thirty million dollars toward the production of a hemp processing mill. I can only assume that "some economic benefit" is the motivation. Again it is unfortunate that you took it upon yourself to forestall Colorado's opportunity to explore this potential industry for another year.

Finally, are your remarks regarding my character and that of Senator Casey. You dismiss this legislation that we worked for almost a year to prepare as "a shallow ruse being advanced by those to seek to legalize marijuana." Without the professional courtesy to even respond to one of my phone calls, you have no right to level such accusations against me or the Senator. The hardest part about drafting SB 95-132 was creating the legal distinction between hemp and marijuana where a scientific and cognitive distinction already exists. This is the part where I solicited your help. It is significant to note that NORML and the other groups thought I did a sufficient job. They refused to endorse the Bill because it specifically kept marijuana laws in place. Had you contacted me, you would have found that my motivation in writing this Bill was not to legalize marijuana. Rather it stems from the Persian Gulf War where I sent four of my soldiers across the world to fight for oil. It also stems from the years I have spent trying to slow the cutting in our nation's forests. Cutting which will be significantly curtailed in Colorado in light of the recent block of the Long Draw and Dudley Horsefly timber cuts. Despite your non-expert assurances, deforestation continues to be a problem in the United States and the World. SB 95-132 was one more attempt to slow it down. Please refrain from further attempts to publicly disparage my reputation regarding this issue.

Further, and more important, at age 68, Senator Casey is hardly what one considers an advocate of the drug culture. Lloyd Casey is an intelligent, honorable and courageous man for sponsoring this Bill. You, on the other hand, are none of those things for scuttling it at the last minute. But I must admit, you were successful, this time. Next time, your element of surprise will be gone. Rangers generally only get ambushed once. Again it is unfortunate that our communication must take an adversarial tone, rather than one of cooperation. However, remember that I do respect the work that you are doing for our nation, I thank you and I look forward to engaging you with words. Whether in cooperation or not, we are destined to work together. Until next time, keep your head down and, "Make the most of the hemp seed, sow it everywhere!"


Thomas J. Ballanco

Environmental Action Committee


cc: Honorable William J. Clinton Honorable Don Ament

President of the United States Colorado State Senator

Honorable Janet Reno Honorable Dennis Gallagher

United States Attorney General Colorado State Senator

Honorable Thomas Constantine Honorable Linda Powers

Chief Administrator, U.S.D.E.A. Colorado State Senator

Honorable Henry L. Solano Honorable Ginette Dennis

United States Attorney District of Colorado Colorado State Senator

Honorable Roy R. Romer Honorable Tilman Bishop

Governor of Colorado Colorado State Senator

Honorable Gale Norton Honorable Joan Johnson

Colorado Attorney General Colorado State Senator

Honorable Lloyd Casey Honorable James Wattenburg

Colorado State Senator Colorado State Senator

Colorado Hemp Initiative Project

P.O. Box 729

Nederland, CO 80466

(303) 784-5632

email: cohp@darkstar.cygnus.com


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