Wait Till Next Year: Hawaii House Agriculture Committee Postpones Voting On Hemp Cultivation Bill Until 1997

The House Agriculture Committee has voted to postpone deciding on a bill that would allow Hawaii to cultivate industrial hemp until “more scientific information” can be gathered.

Legislation introduced by state Rep. David Tarnas would amend the state law to authorize the production, possession, and commerce of non-psychoactive industrial hemp in Hawaii. Tarnas maintains that the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawaii could provide local farmers with a prosperous economic and environmental future. “Hawaii has the opportunity to capture a significant market share as the first hemp production in the U.S.A.,” he wrote this past November.

Less enthusiastic were the members of the House Agriculture Committee who decided to hold off acting on Tarnas’ bill until the 1997 legislative session. The committee’s main concern appeared to be over the question of cross-pollination, stated an aid of Rep. Tarnas who attended the hearings. Law enforcement officials testified that marijuana growers would be able to grow psychoactive strains of cannabis alongside of non-psychoactive hemp. Hemp proponents denied this claim and argued that the growth of high grade marijuana was not possible in such close proximity to industrial hemp.

An aid of Rep. Tarnas maintains that he will “absolutely” reintroduce hemp cultivation legislation next year. In The meantime, the House of Representatives has released a concurrent resolution (H.C.R. 28) requesting the establishment of a “state licensing program for the agricultural production of industrial cannabis hemp for food, fuel, and fiber, and the establishment of a pilot project to conduct agronomic research on industrial cannabis hemp.”

For more information, please contact Rep. David Tarnas at (808) 586-8510. For more information on industrial hemp or a copy of H.C.R. 28, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

Reminder: the USA Today Sunday supplement, one of the nation’s most widely distributed media features, will run a cover story on marijuana this weekend.

Notice! NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre debates former drug czar Lee Brown live on America Online this Monday evening at 9 P.M., not 10 P.M. as was previously listed. The debate, sponsored by USA Today Weekend, can be accessed on America Online by entering either of the following key words: “Center Stage” or “USA Today.”