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Thursday, January 24, 2019
HB939: State Ag Bill Restricts Hemp Growers More Than Feds Do
By Rep Cynthia Thielen @ 12:40 AM :: 1448 Views :: Agriculture, Drugs

Epic Fail: HI Dept. of Agriculture Drafts $700M Bill Wrongly Based on Law Repealed in 2018

News Release from Rep Cynthia Thielen, Jan 23, 2019

Some 34 days after the $867 billion Federal Farm Bill that provides billions in aid to U.S. farmers was signed into law – and that specifically legalizes the growing, transporting across state lines and selling of industrial hemp by removing it from the Drug Enforcement Agency's Schedule 1 Controlled Substance List – the Hawaii Department of Agriculture has drafted HB939, which goes against the new national law by setting up overwhelming, unnecessary obstacles that prevent local farmers from planting the now-legal plant.

The Hawaii DOA lists the following erroneous justification for HB939: "Given the nature of hemp as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance . . .."   

However, as of Dec. 20, 2018, hemp was removed from that list.

Of equal importance and horror: The HDOA's bill also limits the number of licenses that the department will approve by adding more restrictions in the face of the national law, which was specifically established to reduce restrictions.

U.S. hemp product sales are valued at nearly $700 million annually. This includes food and body products, dietary supplements, clothing, auto parts and building materials.

"Astonishingly, the HDOA's bill comes from a place of ignorance and bigotry against a plant that won't get anyone high," said Representative Cynthia Thielen. "One day after the Farm Bill was signed into law last December, Kentucky's agriculture commissioner submitted his state's hemp plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In contrast, our DOA is doing all it can to shackle our farmers and entrepreneurs, shamefully placing Hawaii dead last in this green-lighted crop that would benefit our residents and give eager investors with billions of dollars a place to do business. The HDOA needs to withdraw this bill that is an insult to our farmers and an embarrassment to our state."

Kentucky's hemp processors grossed $16.7 million in sales in 2018. Also last December, Alabama authorized hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) production and sales. CBD is a known pain reliever. Furthermore, Nevada's Leading Edge Pharma announced that it will sell its CBD-infused topical pain relievers in some 100 pharmacies in 22 states including New York, Maryland and California.

Market reports indicate that the estimated gross value of hemp production per acre is about $21,000 from seeds and $12,500 from stalks. Furthermore, U.S. hemp retail sales have increased to more than 20 percent annually since 2011, accounting for more than two-thirds of the value of U.S. retail sales in 2016.

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