Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture licensed three separate farmers in June to grow hemp under the state’s pilot industrial hemp program, Maui Now reports. One grower is located on Kauai and the other two are located on Hawaii Island.
The industrial hemp licenses last for just two years and licensees are required to pay annual fees of $250 plus a $2-per-acre assessment charge. Growers are allowed to sell the hemp they harvest but must produce regular reports on the planting, harvesting, and distribution of their crops.
“Hawaii’s first licensed hemp growers will help to demonstrate the real potential of the industrial hemp industry. We look forward to the entrepreneurial spirit that will help to invigorate and strengthen agriculture across the state.” — Gov. David Ige, via Hawaii News Now
The pilot hemp program, which officially opened in April 2018, has so far received applications from ten interested individuals. Officials with the Agriculture Department are still reviewing the remaining applications and will continue to license qualified partners as their applications are approved.
“The potential here in Hawaii is just enormous when you look at 25,000 different products … made from this miracle plant.” — State Sen. Mike Gabbard, in the report
Officials faced difficulties trying to acquire seeds for the program. By working with federal and state drug enforcement agencies, however, the Department of Agriculture was eventually able to source seeds of the hemp varietal Yuma from China, which experts predict will perform well in Hawaii‘s tropical climate.