Do you think Maui County ought to encourage industrial hemp farming? Do you have an opinion on people smoking at bus stops? Then you might want to check out tomorrow’s Maui County Council meeting.
There’s a lot on the meeting agenda (click here to read it), but two items caught my eye. First is a resolution titled “URGING CONGRESS TO PASS THE INDUSTRIAL HEMP FARMING ACT OF 2015.” While lacking legal authorization to allow people to grow hemp in Maui County for industrial uses (textiles, rope, soap, shampoo, plastic, resin, skin care products, particle board, paper, fuel, food, vitamins, oil and, of course, “hempcrete”), the resolution would merely call on the U.S. Congress to change the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp no long falls into the definition of marijuana, making it a Schedule I drug and thus massively, painfully illegal. This could happen, too.
“Your Committee [Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation] notes the legislation has been introduced as Senate Bill 134 (2015) by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and House Bill 525 (2015) by Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, respectively,” states this committee report on the industrial hemp resolution. “There are nine bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the people of Maui County, is among 60 bipartisan cosponsors in the House of Representatives.”
The very next item on the agenda concerns the Council filing this committee report on Councilman Mike Victorino’s proposed bill that would ban smoking (and possibly vaping, too) at bus stops. Smoking is already prohibited on or at buses, airports, taxi cabs and “ticket, boarding, and waiting areas of public transit depots.”
It’s legally possible bus stops already fall into that “public transit depot” category, but hey, what’s another law more or less? Anyway, according to the committee report, no-smoking bus stop signs would cost the county about $10,000 and take four to six weeks to make. What’s more, Victorino’s proposed bill envisions a “$25 to $50” fine for those who violate the law and smoke at a bus stop (can’t wait to see cops writing tickets for that one).
At the meeting, the public can comment on either of these matters (or anything else on the agenda, really). The meeting will take place at 9am on Friday, Sept. 4 at the Council Chambers, located on the 8th floor of the Kalana O Maui Building (200 S. High St., Wailuku).
Photo of industrial hemp in Germany: Wikimedia Commons