Hawaii is embracing industrial hemp production with open arms! House Bill 2555, which specifically legalizes the cultivation, production, and distribution of hemp in the state, met with unanimous approval in the House, and now goes to the state Senate, where it is expected to pass as well.
The proposed law was introduced by Rep. Kaniela Ing (Dem.), and backed by 34 cosponsors, (31 Dem./3Rep.) The Hawaiian House of Representatives has 51 members, 44 Democrats and 7 Republicans.
The state Senate consists of 26 seats, of which 23 are Democrats, 1 is Republican, and one seat is currently unoccupied.
“Farmers called for the legalization of industrial hemp, and I am ecstatic to help answer that call”, says Rep. Ing, calling the measure “the most robust industrial hemp bill being considered this year,” stating it follows models in Kentucky and Colorado.
The battle so far
This is all made possible by the Agricultural Act of 2014, or the 2014 Farm Bill, specifically Section 7606, allowing states to okay universities and state agricultural departments to begin studying hemp, and growing it for research.
In 2015, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 which would allow American farmers to produce and cultivate industrial hemp. The bill would remove hemp from the controlled substances list as long as it contained no more than 0.3 percent THC.
At least 27 states have now defined hemp as distinct from marijuana, removing barriers to its production.
Less than a hundred years ago, hemp was one of the largest agricultural crops of the United States. Its prohibition came with the resemblance to marijuana, and political and competing industrial influences. The hemp market is estimated to be a 500 million dollar a year industry and is rapidly expanding. Now it is being used in advanced electronics, home construction, water filtration, and dozens of new fields. Over 30 countries allow for legal hemp farming, and if the U.S. wants to have a piece of that pie, it needs to step up to the table.
Do you use products with hemp fibers, seeds, or oils in them? Check again, there are more than you think! Share your list with us on social media or in the comments section below.