Gov. Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to sign SB2175 into law on Wednesday. The bill authorizes the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel research program.
This year, the United States Senate approved the Agriculture Act of 2014, also known as the "Farm Bill," and industrial hemp is now allowed to be grown for research purposes. According to the National Farm Bill, any university can now grow industrial hemp without obtaining a Drug Enforcement Agency permit.
Twenty-two other states, including Colorado and Oregon, have passed legislation relating to industrial hemp similar to Hawaii's SB2175.
"Hempcrete, a hemp and lime composite, is termite proof, making it an excellent choice for the construction industry," said Rep. Cynthia Thielen. "There is a huge global market for hemp and the U.S. is the largest consumer at nearly $500 million per year. The passage of SB2175 is the first step for Hawaii to become a national and global player in the hemp market. We could profit hugely off this environmentally friendly crop."