Hawaiian hemp farmers stop production, fed up with government regulations

Pioneers of Hawaii’s latent hemp industry are selling off land, laying off staff, and no longer planting after years of waiting for the state to ease regulations that they consider overly restrictive and expensive.

The resignation hemp farmers feel comes after years of investment and soliciting funders on the premise that the state would ease its rules and ensure Hawaii would have the lucrative hemp market it had been anticipating since 1999.

But farmers say the last-minute gutting of Senate Bill 2986, which would have eased state regulation of the crop, during the latest legislative session is a death knell for the early adopters as they struggle to access Hawaii’s hemp market, valued at up to $54 million. And now, the proposed permanent rules that the bill would have erased face a June 30 deadline, which means yet another year of over-regulation, the farmers say.

SB 2986 would have addressed several issues hemp farmers say they face: access to the local market through processing and online sales, easing three-day notice periods for crop transport, testing, and inspection. The bill, in its final form, would ensure hemp remains legal in Hawaii until 2025 but did not address state regulations.

To read the complete article, go to www.civilbeat.org

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