Ramoda Anand, a local activist who crusades for stuff like public access for disabled people, GMO-labeling and loosening up county Liquor Control rules prohibiting dancing in clubs is adding legalizing industrial hemp research to his list of things to get done. With the help of state Representatives Joe Souki (D-Wailuku), Cynthia Thielen (R-Kailua), Barbara Marumoto (R-Waialae) and Jerry Chang (D-South Hilo), Ananda is pushing for passage of HB 1727, which would “allow privately funded industrial hemp research to be conducted in Hawaii under certain conditions,” according to the bill text.
“It would be the first in the country to say in the act that it has to be organic and non GMO,” Ramoda Anand emailed me this week. “The other acts in California do not say this. That’s why it would be incredible, in my opinion. It has to be on more than two acres of land, as well.”
The bill text states that hemp has often found its way into “paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction and fuel.” As everyone who’s watched Dazed and Confused knows, George Washington himself grew hemp (though historians tell us there’s little evidence he smoked cannabis), but the federal government’s Drug War over the last few decades has pushed hemp into the shadows. This bill hopes to drag hemp back into the light, which scientists tell us provides life-giving nourishment to plants.
As of now, there’s no hearing scheduled for HB 1727. And unless one is scheduled by Feb. 7, the bill dies.
“We need to have people call or email their respective representative, and make this happen,” Anand said in his email.
Photo: Aleks/Wikimedia Commons