HEMP: Hawaii’s Future in a Fiber
Many of you know I (Cynthia Thielen) am a longtime supporter of Industrial Hemp. This session, I co-sponsored HCR3, which sailed through the Legislature and calls on Congress and the President to reaffirm that industrial hemp was never the intended target of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This clarification would enable farmers to include hemp with other agricultural crops.
Hempcrete, a mixture of hemp fibers and lime, is used for walls in construction projects on the mainland and overseas. What’s particularly important to Hawaii is that hempcrete is termite-proof. We could actually “grow our building materials” locally.
HB154, to create an Industrial Hemp research project for biofuels and soil cleansing, is in its final Senate committee, ready for action when the session starts next year.
One day in the early 1990s, my son Peter and I were talking about what might replace sugar as a major Hawaii crop. Peter, who has a small, Internet-based hemp clothing wholesale business, wondered why farmers couldn’t grow hemp, rather than importing the expensive materials made from it.
I was startled at the suggestion because hemp was illegal under federal law. But as I researched it, I came to realize that hemp is a legitimate crop used in thousands of consumer products, ranging from food to car parts to cosmetics to building materials and beyond. And its use goes back thousands of years in Europe and Asia, even in the American colonies and up until the 1970s in the United States.
So, I concluded that hemp is a versatile, valuable crop already used in thousands of our consumer goods, and we should be able to grow it.