Historic industrial hemp legislation passes, opens doors to local farmers

Hemp Bill Passes!

Honolulu – Today the Hawai‘i State Legislature passed the “Industrial Hemp Bill,” which establishes an agricultural hemp program that for the first time in Hawai‘i’s history, allows the crop’s cultivation and the distribution of its seed by multiple licensed local farmers.

Senate Bill 2659 passed with a unanimous vote in both Chambers. The Hawai‘i State Department of Agriculture will oversee the program including the licensing of farmers.

Once signed by the Governor, Hawai‘i will join more than 30 countries, and Kentucky, Colorado, Vermont, Tennessee and Oregon, all of which cultivate hemp. Hemp products are an estimated $620 million-a-year-and-growing retail business in the U.S., with much of it sourced from China and Canada.

The timing of the bill’s passage into law is significant as Maui’s sugar cane crops face demise in just weeks because it provides hundreds of the 700-plus otherwise unemployed sugar workers with a viable crop to farm on Alexander & Baldwin’s land with minimal loss of income and transition.

A longtime supporter of industrial hemp, Representative Cynthia Thielen has advocated for its entry into Hawai‘i for more than 20 years. Two decades later, the message resounds: Hemp has more than 25,000 uses and products; it has no power to get anyone high; and its byproducts like paper, clothing and low-cost hempcrete for construction create entrepreneurial growth.

“This not only saves jobs, but also creates jobs,” Thielen said. “This benefits our entire state, and supporters of the bill include and transcend all political parties.”

Patients Caught In The Crossfire Of HMSA’s ‘War On Doctors’

civil beat doc

A new payment system for doctors rewards physicians for healthier patients who require less care. That doesn’t bode well for patients who require complicated, expensive care. April 26, 2016  By Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua,Kaneohe Bay) www.civilbeat.com/2016/04/patients-caught-in-the-crossfire-of-hmsas-war-on-doctors/ HMSA is harming patients with its war on doctors. This year, the state’s largest health insurer yanked doctors’ previously earned […]

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Talking story in our District

Our "Talk Story" meeting at Keolu Elementary brought us face-to-face with community members & led to meaningful conversations. L-R: Councilmember Ikaika Anderson, Rep. Chris Lee, Rep. Cynthia Thielen, Senator Laura ThielenContinue Reading

Happening in our schools

It was fun visiting Windward kindergartners with the "Little Fire Ant." Mahalo to the Oahu Invasive Species Committee for helping our young people learn more about protecting Hawaii's native plants and animals.

 

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This is it: proposed legislation to solve our homeless, affordable-living crises

By Rep. Cynthia Thielen (Kailua-Kaneohe Bay) It’s official: In 2016, homelessness ranks as the No. 1 issue facing Hawai‘i state government, said global research firm OmniTrak in its January report, “The People’s Pulse.” The pervasive problem has long since blurred the former stereotypical divide of “us” and “them.” 2016’s nouveau poor include “us” – children; […]

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Ocean-energy device launches, better positions Hawai‘i to harness wave power

wave energy device

Hawai‘i moved closer to gaining independence from fossil fuels, exerting control over its energy production and fulfilling the state’s Clean Energy Initiative with the latest deployment of a high-tech ocean-renewable energy device that converts waves into energy off Kaneohe’s shoreline this week. The launch of the Fred Olsen Lifesaver energy converter by the US Navy […]

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Legislative Roadshow Drives Student Input

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With droves of young people currently exercising their right to have their voices heard in national government, our yearly Legislative Roadshow is perfectly timed to give students in our 50th District a hands-on experience of participating in the legislative process. This helps them to understand and contribute to our government in the future. The highest-ever […]

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