Hemp and Hawaii: A Winning Combination

ImageAPRIL 9, 2013

BY REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA THIELEN

http://www.civilbeat.com/voices/2013/04/09/18796-hemp-and-hawaii-a-winning-combination/

Across the country, in nearly two dozen states – including Colorado, Washington, Kentucky, California, Minnesota, and Illinois — the drive to re-legalize hemp cultivation is gaining support. Industrial hemp is tied to no particular ideology; its supporters range from the liberal (Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon) to the conservative (Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky). This ability to leap across political barriers shows the common-sense appeal of hemp cultivation.

Our own Legislature has temporarily shelved its chance to put Hawaii at the front of America’s hemp renaissance, but we will have a chance to bring it back during the 2014 session.

The intent of House Bill 154 was to allow a two-year hemp phytoremediation and biofuel research project in Hawaii.

Dole Food Company Hawaii generously offered to donate land for the project, which would cost an estimated $60,000 per year (including seeds, fencing around the two-acre plot, and other needed materials and expertise). The bill was approved by several House and Senate committees before stalling in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

ImageI respect the Ways and Means Committee Chair’s concerns about public funding for the project; it therefore makes sense to amend the bill to use only private funding. During the next few months, we can work on raising money from private sources and starting the process to get DEA permits. Then, in January, we can move the improved bill out of committee for final reading.

I spearheaded Hawaii’s first industrial hemp research project, back in 1999-2003. Dole donated land then, too, and we were able to secure private funding from several sources. We secured the necessary permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The ILWU supported the project, understanding that adding a crop to Hawaii’s agricultural community would benefit workers as well as the farmers themselves, along with other small and large business owners in our state.

With its ability to cleanse the soil of toxins, industrial hemp would be an environmentally friendly replacement for sugar and pineapple. Hemp is often grown without pesticides or herbicides due to its natural ability to ward off unwanted insects and weeds. And hemp’s potential as a biofuel feedstock could be a game-changer for Hawaii.

Farming organizations across the U.S. support a change in the federal government’s policy on hemp cultivation. The National Farmers Union, which represents more than a quarter-million family farms and ranches in the U.S., supports industrial hemp cultivation. The NFU has urged the Drug Enforcement Administration to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana, and to allow American farmers to grow hemp under state law without requiring DEA approval. (This was the essence of Hawaii’s HCR6 SD1, which passed its House and Senate committees this session.)

Thousands of products made from hemp are imported to and sold in the U.S. Why are we paying extra to have someone else grow and process the plant these products are made from? We know we can grow successful hemp crops here – the Hawaii Industrial Hemp Research Project in 1999 showed us that. We can do it again, with next year’s passage of HB 154.


About the author: *State Representative Cynthia Thielen, a Republican, has represented District 50 (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) for 23 years. Currently she is Assistant Minority Leader, Vice Chair, Energy and Environmental Protection Committee and is the ranking member on  the Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committee and the Judiciary Committee.


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Rep. Gene Ward Addresses SB1095 – Early Childhood Education Program

RELATING TO EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION.
Report Title: Early Childhood Education Program
Description: Establishes the Early Childhood Education Program within the Early Learning System. Effective July 1, 2030. (SB1095 HD2)

4/9/2013 H Passed Third Reading as amended in HD 2 with Representative(s) Cheape, Fale, Fukumoto, Johanson, Jordan, Lowen, McKelvey, Ward voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Cabanilla, Hanohano voting no (2) and none excused (0). Transmitted to Senate.

ward sb 1095Contact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

See: Word with Ward – Rep. Gene Ward and Cathy Fukunaga – Preschool Education
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XFfCjyn8vQ

Rep. Cynthia Thielen Addresses SB1171- Historic Preservation Project Reviews

RELATING TO THE REVIEW OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION PROJECTS.
Report Title: Historic Preservation Project Reviews
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thielen sb 1171Contact repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

Rep. Cynthia Thielen Addresses SB 1209 – Vending from Highways; Airspace

RELATING TO HIGHWAYS.
Report Title: Vending from Highways; Airspace
Description: Specifies the types of vending activities that are prohibited on state highways. Authorizes the Director of Transportation, upon application, to issue a written permit authorizing the applicant to vend in the airspace of a highway. (SB1209 HD1)

4/9/2013 H Passed Third Reading as amended in HD 1 with Representative(s) Oshiro voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Cabanilla, Cheape, Fale, Fukumoto, Johanson, McDermott, Thielen, Ward voting no (8) and none excused (0). Transmitted to Senate.

thielen sb1209-2Contact: repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

Rep. Cynthia Thielen Addresses SB 877 Relating to first class mail

RELATING TO OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH HEARINGS.
Report Title: Occupational Safety and Health; Hawaii Labor Relations Board
Description: Authorizes the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to provide written notice of hearing to all parties by first class mail at least fifteen days before the hearing and clarifies the Board’s powers for conducting appeals under Hawaii laws relating to occupational safety and health. Effective July 1, 2030. (SB877 HD2)
Companion:

4/9/2013 H Passed Third Reading as amended in HD 2 with none voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Cheape, Fale, Fukumoto, Johanson, McDermott, Thielen, Ward voting no (7) and none excused (0). Transmitted to Senate.

thielen sb877-1Contact: repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

Rep. Gene Ward Addresses SB 877 Relating To First Class Mail

RELATING TO OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH HEARINGS.
Report Title: Occupational Safety and Health; Hawaii Labor Relations Board
Description: Authorizes the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to provide written notice of hearing to all parties by first class mail at least fifteen days before the hearing and clarifies the Board’s powers for conducting appeals under Hawaii laws relating to occupational safety and health. Effective July 1, 2030. (SB877 HD2)
Companion:

4/9/2013 H Passed Third Reading as amended in HD 2 with none voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Cheape, Fale, Fukumoto, Johanson, McDermott, Thielen, Ward voting no (7) and none excused (0). Transmitted to Senate.

ward sb877Contact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV