HONOLULU– On the eve of ordering hemp seeds from China for the University of Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Project, concerns are growing that the seed importation may be held up by the DEA. Today (May 14, 2014) Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture sued the DEA, U.S. Customs, and the Department of Justice to release that state’s hemp seeds recently impounded by U.S. Customs. Kentucky needs these seeds for their industrial hemp projects which are scheduled for planting before June 1.
“Hawaii, like Kentucky, has everything to gain with the introduction of hemp as a profitable crop for our agricultural industry. The Agricultural Act of 2014, known as the “Farm Bill,” made it legal to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. It is shocking that the DEA would delay the importation of hemp seed in order to prevent the initiation of these legal projects,” said Representative Cynthia Thielen, R-Kailua, today.
Thielen said that she will be meeting with key players on Thursday to continue planning the implementation of Hawaii’s hemp project and looks forward to working with the local DEA representatives in expediting the importation of hemp seed from China.
“I am contacting the Agriculture Commissioner in Kentucky and am looking forward to a positive result from the negotiations between that state’s leadership and the DEA. Hopefully Hawaii will not have the struggle that Kentucky has faced and we can proceed with our project quickly and effectively,” said Thielen.
Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Project was signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on April 30, 2014 and establishes a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel research program.