An industrial hemp research team in Hawaii is seeing very encouraging results with a certain varietal planted in Oahu.
Dr. Harry Ako, the lead researcher on UH Manoa’s industrial hemp project, said that several plants have shot to heights of nearly 10 feet in just ten weeks.
“It’s crazy. It’s crazy fast,” Dr. Ako said.
Industrial hemp remains illegal in Hawaii after a legalization bill died in committee last year. “There are a few, a very few number of legislators that still are afraid of a crop that won’t get anyone high. Unfortunately, some of them were in key positions last year,” said State Rep. Cynthia Thielen, a longtime hemp advocate.
Thielen and Sen. Mike Gabbard, who chair the Committee on Water, Land and Agriculture, are confident that legislation will pass legalizing the crop. “This is an amazing plant. It’s going to be a boon for Hawaii farmers, for the Hawaii economy,” said Gabbard.
State Rep. Chris Lee sees hemp as a much-needed driver for the Hawaiian economy: “With the demise of sugarcane, pineapple…this can be something that can truly replace that on a massive scale. This can put people to work, can put dollars back in our economy, and market globally.”
The research team is now testing the harvested crop. Dr. Ako said that Hawaii could have a hemp industry up and running in just five years if more politicians get on board.
Photo Credit: Ricymar Photography (Than
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