Thie­len-backed Hemp Bill Passed

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Sports -

A bill to es­tab­lish a two-year in­dus­trial hemp re­me­di­a­tion and bio­fuel re­search pro­gram at UH Manoa was passed last month and signed by the gover­nor, cap­ping a years-long cam­paign by Rep. Cyn­thia Thie­len to al­low its cul­ti­va­tion in the Is­lands.

“There’s a huge global mar­ket for hemp,” said Thie­len, R-50th District (Kailua-Ka­neohe Bay), “and the U.S. is the largest con­sumer at nearly $500 mil­lion per year.” She called the pas­sage of SB2175 the first step to­ward mak­ing Hawaii a hugely prof­itable source for the world­wide de­mand.

The non-psy­choac­tive cousin of mar­i­juana, in­dus­trial hemp fibers can be com­bined with lime to cre­ate hem­pcrete, a ter­mite-proof build­ing ma­te­rial. It is a le­git­i­mate, ver­sa­tile, valu­able crop used in thou­sands of con­sumer prod­ucts, Thie­len said, and it can pro­mote sus­tain­abil­ity for the state.

“Its use goes back thou­sands of years in Europe and Asia,” she pointed out dur­ing her 2013 ef­fort to pass the mea­sure, “even in the Amer­i­can colonies and up un­til the 1970s in the United States.”

The next step for Thie­len is to make sure the UH re­search is not de­layed by the Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­stra­tion and U.S. Cus­toms, which were re­cently sued by the state of Ken­tucky for im­pound­ing its or­der of hemp seeds from China.

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