Hawaii lawmakers have passed a bill to make permanent the state’s industrial hemp program, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports. The measure was passed on the last day available for conference committees to approve bills.
State Rep. Richard Creagan, a Democrat who was on one of the conference committees that passed the bill, called it “a victory for all the small farmers” of Hawaii. Creagan indicated Gov. David Ige would sign the legislation. A similar bill failed to pass last month.
Under the current program, the Board of Agriculture sets limits on the number of industrial hemp licenses given out by the state. Creagan said the committee removed language from the bill wherein that rule would have remained in place until the full program was established – which is expected next year.
“We don’t want to just stop giving people licenses,” Creagan said in the report. “We don’t want to look like we’re trying to keep people out.”
Currently, there are just 17 industrial hemp cultivators in the state. The newly passed bill includes language to add three full-time employees to run and oversee the new industry.
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