HONOLULU – On Monday, the Hawaii State Legislature passed Senate Bill 2175 Senate Draft 2 House Draft 2, also known as the “Hemp Bill,” which authorizes the Dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to conduct a two-year industrial hemp phytoremediation and biofuels research program.
The Hemp Bill was bolstered this session by the passage of the Federal Agricultural Act of 2014 which states that industrial hemp may be grown for the purpose of state university or state Agriculture Department research without Drug Enforcement Administration permission. Twenty-two states have already passed pro-hemp legislation and, upon the Governor’s signature, Senate Bill 2175 SD2 HD2 will make Hawaii the twenty-third state.
State Representative Cynthia Thielen (50th District: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) was instrumental in the passage of Senate Bill 2175 SD2 HD2 through the Legislature.
“This progressive, bipartisan bill will keep Hawaii on the cutting edge of agricultural research, help the state realize the economic capabilities of the crop, and potentially restore land previously damaged by earlier contamination,” said Representative Thielen.
Currently the City and County of Honolulu and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are beginning the second phase of a toxic chemicals removal project at the Waipahu Ash Landfill. This costly project whose initial phase totaled $16 million included excavation and relocation of pollutants, and is expected to cost even more money as the clean-up process progresses.
“With its ability to cleanse the soil of toxins and heavy metals, industrial hemp could be an environmentally friendly alternative to existing methods,” says Representative Thielen, remarking on hemp’s potential in Hawaii. “Using industrial hemp as a phytoremediator also removes the need to excavate or relocate topsoil in contaminated lands, drastically decreasing costs and curtailing the spread of toxic waste to other areas.”
The Hemp Bill is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature to become law. When signed, the industrial hemp research program could begin as early as July 1, 2014.
Submitted by the House Republicans