Hawaii Issues First Industrial Hemp Licenses

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has issued its first licenses to farmers to cultivate industrial hemp under the states pilot program. The government in Hawaii had received total of 10 applications from interested farmers looking to participate.

Gail Baber, Raymond Maki, and Thomas Pace were all awarded licenses to legally cultivate hemp on 10 acres of their private land for research purposes. Each of the licenses provided will be valid for two years as long as the farmers grow within the guidelines and restrictions provided by the Department of Agriculture.

Requirements to apply for the license included the following:

  • Completeness of applications
  • Licensed to do business in Hawaii
  • Agriculturally zoned land
  • Legitimate Research Plan
  • Best management plan for growing of hemp
  • A laboratory provisionally certified or certified by the Hawaii Department of Health to test cannabis and is willing to collect samples from the growing location.
  • Application Fee ($500 non-refundable)

HDOA did however have issues with importing farmable hemp seeds to supply the license holders with, due to its Schedule 1 drug classification. They eventually were able to work with the federal government and DEA to import hemp seeds that are suitable to Hawaii’s climate from licensed cultivators out of China.

All aspects of the pilot program are to be recorded and reported back to the HDOA. License holders must keep track of all production costs, water usage, labor, and security measures. All of these will factor into whether or not an industrial hemp industry would be a viable choice for commercial production in Hawaii.

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