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Legalizing Weed: Key Players in Hawaii's Legalization of Industrial Hemp Farming

By    |   Wednesday, 16 Dec 2015 07:39 PM

Hemp has had a decades-long association with the drug marijuana. Before states began legalizing weed, the hemp plant was used for centuries to make food, paper, textiles, and even construction materials. Hawaii is among states to allow the industrial crop, despite the previous federal ban on it.

With the 2014 farm bill easing the restrictions on hemp, cultivation is now a top priority for many states, including Hawaii. For the Aloha State, legalizing hemp production was a strategic economic move, with the following people and organizations playing key roles in promoting or implementing the change.

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1. State Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R-50th District)
Thielen is a longtime advocate of the hemp industry, supporting legalization of hemp farming in Hawaii, as noted by Hawaii television station KITV. She frequently speaks out on the benefits of legalizing industrial hemp farming and, in 2014, told the station that legalizing industrial hemp farming is "terribly important for our farmers and for our economy in Hawaii." She also pointed out that hemp can be used for a diverse array of products, including construction materials, allowing the state to rely less on importing items from the mainland.

2. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie
In 2014, then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law Senate Bill 2175, which allows the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes, according to Biomass magazine. The bill is in line with the 2014 farm bill, which permitted colleges, universities, and state departments of agriculture to conduct hemp research. The magazine quoted Abercrombie as saying "Hawaii's environment and economy will benefit from this research. Industrial hemp can be used to decontaminate soil and increase the state's production of biodiesel, therefore reducing our dependency on imported fuel."

3. University of Hawaii
Following the approval of Senate Bill 2175, the University of Hawaii launched an effort to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation program, as reported by Biomass. The program focuses on hemp's phytoremediation properties, which refers to a plant's ability to pull toxins from the soil.

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Hemp has had a decades-long association with the drug marijuana. Before states began legalizing weed, the hemp plant was used for centuries to make food, paper, textiles, and even construction materials. Hawaii is among states to allow the industrial crop.
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Wednesday, 16 Dec 2015 07:39 PM
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