Alexander Praises Federal Drug Agency’s Approval of Tennessee’s Application to Import Certified Industrial Hemp Seeds

Questions Lynch on substance abuse, methamphetamine lab seizures in Tennessee

Posted on May 8, 2015

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“I want to thank you for working with DEA and the state of Tennessee to approve Tennessee’s application, which will allow our state to begin its pilot program this year. … This is a very important issue for Tennessee’s agricultural department, and I appreciate you being responsive to our requests.”—Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2015 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today praised the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) decision to approvethe state of Tennessee’s application to import certified industrial hemp seeds for research purposes. Alexander thanked Attorney General Loretta Lynch for working with DEA and the state of Tennessee to approve Tennessee’s registration and import permit application.

“I want to thank you for working with DEA and the state of Tennessee to approve Tennessee’s application, which will allow our state to begin its pilot program this year,” Alexander told Lynch at a subcommittee hearing yesterday. “This is a very important issue for Tennessee’s agricultural department, and I appreciate your being responsive to our requests.”

Last month, Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) sent a letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s application, which had been filed with the DEA last year, be approved. At yesterday’s hearing, Alexander told Lynch that approval of this application was a “practical matter,” as seeds must be planted by early May in order to have quality data collected to determine if Tennessee is well-suited for industrial hemp production.

Alexander also questioned Lynch about other issues at the hearing, including substance abuse and methamphetamine lab seizures in Tennessee. Regarding substance abuse, Alexander received a commitment from Lynch to work with drug wholesalers and pharmacies that register with DEA to ensure there is clear guidance on the definition of a “suspicious order” so that drug wholesalers and pharmacies can better balance patient access with the important fight against prescription drug abuse. Alexander also pressed Lynch on the methamphetamine problem in Tennessee, calling on her to request additional funding for the Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup program and the competitive grant program for state Anti-Methamphetamine Task Forces, which are working to keep meth out of our communities.

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