Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Hawaiʻi's local hemp industry will see much-needed assistance after the passage of HB1359 CD1, which was enacted into law as Act 263 on Wednesday.
The measure repeals redundant regulations on hemp production to reduce costs for the State and local hemp farmers, recognizes the unique constraints of farmers, permits the licensure of hemp producers to sell hemp biomass, and establishes the Hawaiʻi Hemp Task Force to be jointly convened by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health to gather data to better understand hemp industry needs.
Representative Dee Morikawa introduced HB1359 in the 2023 legislative session on behalf of hemp industry supporters who approached her and pleaded for legislation to help revive and strengthen Hawaiʻi's hemp industry.
"Due to stringent regulations, Hawaiʻi's hemp farmers have faced numerous challenges in bringing their products to market. Act 263 strives to uplift the local hemp industry and provide people with easier access to the numerous benefits offered by hemp products," said Representative Dee Morikawa (D-17, Ni‘ihau, portion of ‘Ōma‘o, Kōloa, Po‘ipū, Lāwa‘i, Kalāheo, ‘Ele‘ele, Hanapēpē, Kaawanui Village, Pākalā Village, Waimea, Kekaha).
In working closely with hemp farmers, Rep. Morikawa introduced a measure that enables hemp producers in Hawaiʻi to streamline their production, reduce costs, and comply with industry-specific constraints. The bill also promotes transparency in labeling by specifying the percentage of hemp grown in Hawaiʻi. Additionally, it allocates funds to the Department of Health for hiring or consulting with a toxicologist or consultant, fostering farmer confidence in hemp growth.
"We foresee hemp becoming an important agricultural crop in Hawaiʻi with the proper support from the State. We are happy that the community was heard and are grateful for the Legislature's support," said Rep. Morikawa.