A bill relating to hemp products and production in Hawai’i has become law, without Governor Josh Green’s signature.
The Hawai’i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) issued the first licenses to growers under the State’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in the middle of 2018. Industrial hemp has the potential to bring significant revenues to Hawaii, particularly given three crops are possible a year due to favourable climatic conditions.
But the State’s hemp industry remains in a nascent stage, which has been largely blamed on over-regulation.
HB1359 HD2 SD2 CD1, which will be enacted as Act 263, contains a number of changes to the state’s oversight of hemp. Act 263 repeals redundant regulations on hemp production, with a goal of reducing costs for the State and farmers.
“Amends the hemp law in a manner that recognizes the unique constraints of Hawai’i farmers, while protecting human health.”
Among its actions:
- Act 263 allows licensed hemp producers to sell hemp biomass.
- Requires transparency in labeling of hemp products to identify how much Hawai’i grown hemp they contain.
- Establishes the Hawai’i Hemp Task Force.
- Requires and earmarks funds for the HDOA to hire a hemp consultant, who will recommend infrastructure improvements on each island.
- Provides for the Department of Health to hire or consult a suitably-experienced toxicologist or consultant for the purpose of setting defined action limits or exposure levels for different types of hemp products.
- Extends the State’s hemp processor law through July 1, 2027.
The Hawai’i Hemp Task Force is to be jointly convened by HDOA and the state’s department of health to gather data and information to better understand local hemp industry needs. It will be comprised of producers from each island. The task force is to report its findings and recommendations to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2025.
Commenting on this and other bills becoming law without the Governor Green’s signature last week, his office stated:
“While Governor Green may not fully support this legislation, these bills will become law without his signature because on balance, they are more beneficial than objectionable, and reflect strong stakeholder support for these measures.”
Champion of HB1359, Representative Dee Morikawa, was pleased to see the legislation she introduced become law.
“We foresee hemp becoming an important agricultural crop in Hawaii with the proper support from the state,” Rep. Morikawa said. “We are happy that the community was heard and are grateful for the legislature’s support.”