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Concerns Remain About New Hawaii Hemp Law

The changing programs have hemp farmers worried

Hawaii will adopt a federal industrial hemp production program at the end of this month, signalling 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.

“I know some farmers are just waiting to see what happens before they apply at all,” said Gail Baber, a Big Island hemp grower who was one of the first in the state to be licensed through the pilot program.

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