Hemp bill headed to Ige

By The Garden Island | Sunday, July 12, 2020, 12:05 a.m.

HONOLULU — The state House of Representatives passed a bill that legalizes the growing, processing and sale of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i.

It passed the Senate on Wednesday unanimously, with Sens. Les Ihara, Clarence K. Nishihara and Laura H. Thielen expressing reservations.

The bill now goes to Gov. David Ige for final disposition.

Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee, applauded the final passage of the bill.

“This commercial hemp program will help grow a new industry in our state, which is especially needed now due to the impacts of COVID-19,” said Gabbard.

“This bill will provide an opportunity for economic development and the diversification of our economy.

“Hemp is an incredible plant that produces over 25,000 products, and we’re very close to making the Hawaiian Hemp brand a reality, not only in the U.S. but globally as well.”

“Instead of using state funds to set up a hemp agency, this bill was amended to save half a million dollars by allowing local hemp farmers to apply directly to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) to get their licenses,” said Gabbard.