Hawaii has been a little slower than other states when it comes to hemp farming and policy. But those days are over and the state is charging ahead now with new legislation, House Bill 1819, which legalizes the growth, processing and sale of industrial hemp in the state. This opens up a ton of new opportunities for this small island state and sets the stage for helping the state battle the effects of Coronavirus on their state’s economy as well.
If the recent bill allowing for hemp growth and processing in Hawaii had not been passed, many operations in Hawaii may have had to shut down. This would not only have meant a loss of income for the state’s small farmers–but the loss of a new revenue stream to help the state battle it’s loss of tourism due to COVID 19. With tourism at an all-time many Hawaiians that work in the island’s many resorts are finding it hard to get by–fully legalizing hemp farms and CBD processing plants may just be a timely solution. This is because the newly signed bill allows hemp farmers to apply directly to the USDA for licenses rather than a separately funded state agency. This means easier access.
As state Senate President Ron Kouchi says
“Now that the bill is passed, the hemp industry in Hawai‘i can ramp up and go full speed. Since the pandemic, we’ve been talking about how to diversify off of our tourism-based economy. How do we find non-tourism business-related industries? Then, there’s been a cry for diversifying our agriculture field as well. This checks all the boxes.”