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Legalizing Weed: 5 Facts About Hawaii's Legalization of Industrial Hemp Farming

By    |   Monday, 11 Jan 2016 05:21 PM

The movement for legalizing weed as well as for legalizing industrial hemp has found success in Hawaii. Not only is medical marijuana now allowed in the state, but farmers have also begun growing hemp for research purposes.

Here are five key facts about Hawaii’s legalization of industrial hemp farming.

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1. The first hemp seed in Hawaii was planted at the University of Hawaii’s Waimanalo Research Station. This monumental event took place in April 2015, and advocates are hopeful that this small crop (about the size of a football field) will be the first step in realizing the potential of industrial hemp for the state’s economic and agricultural interests. Specifically, the study investigates the plant’s uses as a biofuel as well as a compound that can be used to purify soil.

2. State lawmakers are optimistic about the crop’s potential to create jobs. State Rep. Cynthia Thielen said, according to The 420 Times, “This will create jobs for people. It's an entrepreneur's dream with 25,000 uses of industrial hemp – none of which get you high.” Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis sativa plant, however industrial hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the part of marijuana that has psychoactive effects. Thielen has been a major proponent of the crop, advocating for its growth in Hawaii for over 10 years.

3. The time span of the legalization is currently limited to two years. As a condition of the law, program researchers must report their findings by the end of 2016. At that point, the state will make a determination on whether to continue, expand, or end the industrial hemp program. As with legalizing weed, more decisions are still needed before restrictions are removed.

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4. The project is led by Professor Harry Ako of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Ako told Hawaii News Now that an important part of the research will be exploring how best to grow industrial hemp in the state’s tropical climate. The team of scientists will experiment with different types of soil and growing conditions in order to cultivate an optimal crop.

5. The project was finally made possible by the passing of the Farm Bill. Signed by President Barack Obama in early 2014, this bill allowed cultivation of the long restricted crop by colleges, universities, and government agencies for the purpose of research.

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The movement for legalizing weed as well as for legalizing industrial hemp has found success in Hawaii. Not only is medical marijuana now allowed in the state, but farmers have also begun growing hemp for research purposes.
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2016-21-11
Monday, 11 Jan 2016 05:21 PM
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