House lawmakers unanimously passed a bill Friday that would authorize the Board of Agriculture to regulate the growing of industrial hemp for research purposes.
House Bill 2555, introduced by Rep. Kaniela Ing and 34 other co-signers, will now cross over to the Senate for its consideration.
The Senate has been working on its own industrial hemp measure. Senate Bill 2659, introduced by Sen. Mike Gabbard and four other senators, would establish an industrial hemp pilot progam to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawaii under limited circumstances. SB 2659 is up for a final vote in the Senate on Tuesday, which would send it over to the House.
More robust hemp measures that would simply authorize the growth of industrial hemp as an agricultural product died in the House and Senate this session as lawmakers evidently look to tread lightly into this new arenaa for Hawaii.
Ing took to Facebook on Friday afternoon to celebrate his bill passing the House, but cautioned that it’s not over yet.
“My bill to legalize industrial hemp as part of our vision for no-burn, regenerative, diversified agriculture on Maui now moves to the Senate,” he said. “Celebration is in order, but your testimony will be even more important in upcoming months.”