Hawaii’s Farmers Union United and its Maui chapter are calling for statements from local citizens and companies regarding their opinions on industrial hemp. They’re trying to educate our senators about the often misunderstood crop.
“The institutional bias against hemp on Capitol Hill is no small matter,” said Michael Bowman, a Colorado farmer and hemp lobbyist who recently visited the islands, who was quoted in a Feb. 7 statement from Vincent Mina, Maui Farmers Union United president. “Even today that bias shows no signs of letting up by the DEA.”
Mina insists that the general attitude of small farmers in Hawaii is positive towards a regenerative and diverse agricultural system that includes hemp and serves Hawaii. “Having the ability to grow HEMP here in Hawaii would provide many jobs for the agricultural industry,” Mina wrote. “With our soils being depleted from past practices that did not regenerate the soil, hemp would not only produce a crop that would be beneficial in many ways to providing ‘essential’ fatty acids for food relating to our well-being, fuel and fiber… As a small farmer myself, being challenged to making a living in a service-based economy, I feel anything that we can have at our disposal to support leveling the playing field in promoting more of a production-based economy would benefit not only the farmers but the community at large… It’s time that all this talk of Sustainability and food security we hear is put into action. Legalizing the production of HEMP is a step in that direction.”
Hemp currently faces legal opposition since it’s a member of the cannabis plant family. Although industrial hemp is different from its sister Mary Jane in that it contains no THC or psychoactive compounds, it’s still considered a Schedule I controlled substance under the U.S. government’s Controlled Substance Act. Multiple bills regarding the legalization of marijuana and hemp were also recently introduced in the Hawaii state legislature.
Anyone interested should contact their local legislators via Capitol.hawaii.gov.