15 States Have Now Legalized Recreational Cannabis. What About Hawaii?

Legalizing recreational use of marijuana in Hawaii might finally get some political traction at the Legislature now that 15 other states have taken the plunge and there is an urgent need for more tax revenue due to the pandemic.

State Attorney General Clare Connors has already assembled a working group of her deputies to advise lawmakers on the issues involved in legalizing and regulating marijuana. Some key House and Senate lawmakers support legalization, including Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English, House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke and Senate Judiciary Chairman Karl Rhoads.

But many in law enforcement remain strongly opposed to legalization for recreational use, and there will certainly be some political pushback against such a proposal.


The Conversation: Diversifying Hawaii's Economy With Hemp

Hemp & the Maui Hemp Institute; Environmental Report Card; Reality Check: Lanai Covid Cluster; Manu Minute

Hemp & the Maui Hemp Institute

Our economic crisis has spurred lots of emphasis on diversifying our economy and looking to boost local agriculture. Hemp is a crop that has long had a cheering section but the regulation has been an uphill battle for farmers. We talked to Steve Rose of the Maui Hemp Institute about how farmers will now have to apply for permits with the USDA.

Environmental Report Card

Throughout this week we are looking into a recent report card on our environment.


Concerns remain about new Hawaii hemp law

Hawaii will adopt a federal industrial hemp production program at the end of this month, signaling the end of the state’s two-year-long Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.

However, the changing programs have hemp farmers worried, with concerns that growing hemp will no longer be economically viable under the federal program.

Thanks to a bill passed by the state Legislature during the last session and signed into law by Gov. David Ige, the state legalized the growth of hemp throughout the state via the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s hemp production program. But while this bill ostensibly removed roadblocks for farmers seeking a license to grow hemp, farmers under the pilot program believe the USDA program is significantly more restrictive.


Medical Cannabis Retail Dispensaries Approved on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health issued a formal notice to proceed to Hawaiian Ethos LLC on the island of Hawai‘i and Manoa Botanicals LLC, dba Noa Botanicals on O‘ahu, after both passed their final onsite inspections for their third retail facilities.

Hawaiian Ethos’ new retail location in Hilo at 578 Kanoelehua Avenue expects to begin sales on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Noa Botanicals’ new retail location in ʻAiea at 98-302 Kamehameha Highway expects to open today.


Bill opens up Hawai‘i to hemp industry

‘OMA‘O — The team at Kaua‘i Hemp Company Farms and Nalu Botanicals Lab stand in front of the “Ka la hiki ola” mural overlooking its farm in ‘Oma‘o, thinking that it truly is a “dawning of a new day.”

The signing of House Bill 1819 by Gov. David Ige legalizes the growth, processing and sale of industrial hemp in the state, and for Nalu Botanicals Lab, the first and only toll processing facility in the state, this bill opens up new opportunities and business by the ten-fold.

The first U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic hemp farm in the state, founder Daryl Kaneshiro’s four acres of industrial hemp goes from seed to refined cannabidiol oil all on the property.

If this bill wasn’t signed, this massive operation would have had to close.


Hawaii Could Soon Allow the Sale of Medical Cannabis Edibles

It’s always been a point of contention in Hawaii that edibles aren’t part of the state’s medical offerings, despite the fact that the state has an established medical market. But, as of last Friday, the state legislature has officially passed a bill that allows edibles to be sold at licensed, medical dispensaries within the state. As long as Governor David Ige signs it into law, the state will open up to the edible market


Hawai‘i Legislature Passes Bill to Legalize Industrial Hemp

Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee, applauded the final passage of a bill in the House of Representatives today to legalize the growing, processing, and sale of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i.

It passed the Senate on Wednesday unanimously, with Senators Les Ihara, Clarence K. Nishihara, and Laura H. Thielen expressing reservations.

The bill now goes to Governor David Ige to sign into law.


Hawaii: Hemp production bill advances, but fate uncertain

A bill that would fully legalize hemp production throughout Hawaii is only a few steps away from becoming law, although many are unhappy with its final form.

A joint meeting of the state Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means committees approved House Bill 1819, which would end the state’s current Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and replace it with a general purpose hemp production program designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Hemp was decriminalized nationwide by the USDA in 2018, but the state has not legalized its production beyond the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, which has awarded licenses to growers throughout the state for the past two years. Of the 59 licenses awarded, 18 have been to growers on the Big Island.


Hawaii Legislature Considers Bill Providing Employment Protections to Medical Cannabis Users

On January 17, 2020, Hawaii Senators Rosalyn Baker (D) and Brian Taniguchi (D) introduced Senate Bill 2543, which proposes to provide employment protections to job applicants and employees who use medical cannabis. If enacted, Hawaii would join the growing number of states to pass similar laws.


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