Ready, set, grow! Hawaii issues first 3 licenses for industrial hemp growers | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Ready, set, grow! Hawaii issues first 3 licenses for industrial hemp growers


    A hemp plant is pollinated at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Ore., in April. The state of Hawaii has issued its first three licenses to hemp growers in the islands.

The state has issued its first three licenses to hemp growers in Hawaii as part of its Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.

In June, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture issued industrial hemp licenses to Gail Baber and Thomas Pace of Hawaii island, and Raymond Maki of Kauai, each of whom have 10 acres to grow the hemp seed variety, Yuma, imported from China, state officials said today. It takes an estimated three to six months from the planting of the hemp to harvest.

“Hawaii’s first licensed hemp growers will help to demonstrate the real potential of the industrial hemp industry,” Gov. David Ige said in a news release.

Each license is valid for two years, as long as program rules are followed, including the payment of $250 in annual fees and a $2-an-acre assessment, state officials said.

Scott Enright, chairman of the state Board of Agriculture, said the program’s goal is to develop the best methods of cultivating, manufacturing and marketing hemp products in Hawaii.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L., but hemp refers to cannabis plants with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration at least 33 percent lower than the least potent marijuana. It is not possible to get high from industrial hemp, according to agriculture officials.

Industrial hemp growers will be required to submit extensive reports on planting, harvesting and movement of their industrial hemp crop. They must also track production costs, including pest management, water usage, security measures, labor, marketing and other factors, state officials said. The plants also must be tested for THC and pesticides, and inspections are mandatory.

Since the program began in April, the state has received 10 applications. The agriculture department will process applications and issue licenses on a quarterly basis, officials said. The 11-page application is available online.

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