SEN. GABBARD APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP BILL

NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release
May 3, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee, applauded the passage of SB 2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 today. The bill received unanimous support in both the House and Senate.

This historic bill, authored by Sen. Gabbard, would establish a five-year industrial hemp pilot program under the Department of Agriculture to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp for agricultural and academic research, which would include the commercial sale of hemp as marketing and industry development. The provisions of this bill are consistent with the federal Farm Bill.

"We already know from a recent UH hemp study that this incredible crop will grow well in our islands," said Sen. Gabbard. “My vision is to see farmers in Hawai‘i growing hemp and the Hawai‘i branding that comes with that."

The hemp plant is part of the cannabis family, which includes marijuana, but it contains less than 1% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) so it is unable to provide any physical or psychological effects. It is currently used in over 25,000 products. Hemp seed is used to make bread, granola, protein powder, medicine, fuel, lubricants, ink, paint, and cosmetics. Hemp stalks are used in clothing, construction materials, such as hempcrete, paper, and biofuel.

"The Hemp Industries Association estimated last year that the retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. was $620 million," said Sen. Gabbard. "Incredibly, all that hemp is being imported from countries like China and Canada. This makes no sense, given that we could be growing this wonderful crop here."

In 2014, Sen. Gabbard also authored SB 2175 which was signed into law as Act 56. This law authorized UH's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to establish a two-year hemp study. The study was an overwhelming success with the hemp growing from seed to 10 feet tall in just 16 weeks with no fertilizers or pesticide.

With this bill, Hawai‘i joins eight other states, including Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont, in growing industrial hemp.

The text of SB 2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=...