All along the archipelago, farmers are eager to dive headfirst into growing hemp and cannabis. They are looking to the crop as a profitable revolution for farmers.
“Hemp and cannabis is the biggest opportunity for the American farmer ever in the history of this country,” Ray Maki, a licensed hemp grower told the press. “There’s never been a bigger opportunity to be at the bottom floor of an agricultural commodity that’s going to change everything in the fiber industry.”
Enthusiastic activists, who have been fighting the war on cannabis feel like the war is over. They are rejoicing in their victory, but not everything is perfect.
As farmers look to turn around sugar cane fields ravaged by chemicals and overproduction, they might be trading one giant company for another. Some of the cannabis giants moving in are aiming to do the same thing as their predecessors.
Even with Hawaii’s Hemp Pilot Program set in place, there are still many obstacles for aspiring farmers.
“The main problem we have for the growth of the hemp industry in Hawai‘i is the current state law,” Maki said. “We cannot ship within our own state, but interstate shipments of other states’ biomass is allowed, which is completely ass-backwards.”
Since they cannot move the hemp, it has to be processed on-site. Farmers have to grow their own hemp and process it before it can be sold. There aren’t any licensed processing facilities in the state. A large part of that is because there aren’t even laws in place to start the process of becoming one.
Farmers either have to keep their operations small enough to do everything themselves, or spend huge sums on the equipment to process more hemp. Farmers also have to do this on their own, as equipment can’t be rented or shared between farms.