Hawaii’s industrial hemp cultivation program has suffered a setback after seeds imported from Jamaica not only arrived late but also failed a basic inspection, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports. The Department of Agriculture expected to begin accepting applications for the pilot program next month, but now estimate they might not open applications until February.

Shelley Choy, the program coordinator, anticipated the 50 pounds of hemp seed would arrive in June, but it didn’t arrive until October and less than 1 percent of the shipment complied with state requirements. The shipment was destroyed. Choy indicated that a new source of seed is being considered – a Chinese seller that offers 100 pounds of seed to $1,200 – but those seeds are undergoing germination tests in Malawi and Australia to determine whether they are suitable for tropical climates.

“Everything’s in this limbo state right now.” – Choy

The application fee in order to participate in the program is $500. Licensees would be required to use seed provided by the Agriculture Department and give the agency updates on their crops. Once launched, the pilot program is expected to run until 2021, after which state lawmakers will determine whether or not to continue the pilot program or expand statewide hemp production.

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