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Hemp Planted in Hawaii

Posted on January 10, 2000

By Alterna Applied Research Laboratories

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENJAMIN J. CAYETANO, Governor of the State of Hawaii, do hereby proclaim December 14, 1999, to be INDUSTRIAL HEMP DAY

Proclamation By Gov. Benjamin J. Cayetano


WHEREAS, The State of Hawaii recognizes the need to support diversified agriculture; and

WHEREAS, industrial hemp is a renewable crop that has been cultivated for more than four thousand years and was once the most widely cultivated crop in the world; and

WHEREAS, this versatile plant can be used in the manufacture of thousands of products and exported to markets around the world; and

WHEREAS, Hawaii is in a unique position to become a leader in industrial hemp seed development; and

WHEREAS, Alterna Applied Research Laboratories is funding the Hawaii Industrial Hemp Research pilot project to grow the plant in the islands and assess its commercial viability; and

WHEREAS, the seed planting of industrial hemp on Oahu is the first examination of the agricultural and economic potential of this crop in the United States in fifty years:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENJAMIN J. CAYETANO, Governor of the State of Hawaii, do hereby proclaim December 14, 1999, to be

Industrial Hemp Day

In Hawaii, and encourage the serious evaluation of the plant’s economic potential in then island,

DONE, at the State Capitol, in the Executive Chambers, Honolulu, State of Hawaii, this sixth day of December, 1999.



Hawaii Becomes Mentor State in Campaign to Farm Industrial Hemp in America

Contact: Kimberlee Mitchell (310) 824-2508 x258, Los Angeles, CA

Wahiawa, Hawaii — On December 14, 1999, Hawaii made American history as the first state to plant industrial hemp seeds on U.S. soil since WW II. A host of government officials and business leaders were on hand to witnessed the historical event at the Alterna Hemp Research Project’s agricultural plot on the island of Oahu.

Hawaiian Hemp’s Political History

After three years the dedication and tenacity of Hawaii State Representative Cynthia Thielen paid off last May when the legislation to conduct the research needed to initiate the recovery of the industrial hemp crop in the United States passed in Hawaii. Governor Cayetano signed the industrial hemp bill into law and the political minutia building up to the seed planting again ensued. “The project was made possible by a $200,000 grant from hemp shampoo maker Alterna’s Professional Hair Care Products”, explained Representative Thielen. “Due to Alterna’s financial support, the construction for the facility for the ¼ acre industrial hemp plot began.” Built exactly per the strict requirements set forth by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the ¼ acre is surrounded by chain length fencing with razor wire top, and a 24-hour infrared security system. Construction was completed in September, allowing for the State permit application to be submitted. The State permit issued in October and the Federal permit application was submitted to promptly the DEA. With guidance of Rep. Thielen hot on the Fed’s heals, the final and most difficult leg of the now four-year conquest was granted to Hawaii a month later. Hawaii is currently the only state in the U.S. to obtain permission from the DEA to grow industrial hemp following WWII. Hawaii Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano has said, “My administration supports stimulating Hawaii’s economy and keeping our agricultural lands productive. Industrial hemp could meet both of these objectives.”

Plight of American Farmers

Hemp farming is of integral importance to Hawaii as the state’s economy is still suffering from the loss of its main export sugar cane. Hawaii also has the dubious national distinction of 17.6% unemployment rates on one of its islands. Thousands of farmers across the nation are also suffering from the declining profitability of crops they produce. Farmers have a dearth of options. The dilemma of the American farmer is aggravating for Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative president Andrew Graves who spearheaded the lawsuit filed against the DEA last year, in an effort to allow Kentucky tobacco farmers the right to grow industrial hemp in lieu of their diminishing tobacco crops. “It makes no sense that the same government that encouraged and paid my father good money to grow hemp 40 years ago during WWII, is restricting me from saving my ailing tobacco business by forbidding me to grow the exact same plant.” Despite the domestic demand for hemp products, American businesses are still forced to import hemp from any one of the 29 industrialized nations that grow the crop. All members of the Group of Seven Industrialized Nations permit hemp cultivation except one—the United States.

Which State is Next?

During the past three years twenty-two states have approved some form of legislation or resolution supporting industrial hemp including California, Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Maryland, Iowa, Vermont, Tennessee and Montana to name a few. Like Hawaii, North Dakota and Minnesota legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp in spring of 1999 and aim to plant seeds in of spring 2000. The California Democratic National Party adopted a resolution supporting hemp at its state convention in March of 1999, which is the first time in history that a major political party has embraced industrial hemp. In addition, the California State Assembly approved a resolution supporting industrial hemp in September.

Industrial Hemp Research

Although this small ¼ acre test crop will not reap economic benefit for Hawaii immediately, it will however, provide a forum for scientists to provide research to prove that large scale hemp crops will be a financial boon to the struggling Hawaiian economy in a many ways. Esteemed plant geneticist Dr. David West, Ph.D., one of very few plant breeders in the US actively involved in reestablishing industrial hemp, directs Alterna’s hemp seed variety trial research in Hawaii. “This is a huge step for Hawaii and the U.S. as a whole. Once the DEA removes its restrictions on growing industrial hemp freely outside of the test plot trials the vast economic and ecological benefits of this plant will make themselves known to American farmers.”

Why Industrial Hemp?

Industrial hemp is more versatile than the precious soybean, the mainstay cotton plant and the reliable Douglas fir combined. There are over 25,000 different uses for this non-drug wonder plant. Hemp thrives in any climate, grows rapidly and is resistant to disease and insects, which eliminates the need for pesticides or herbicides. Due to no chemical use during cultivation, the soil and groundwater is left untainted making hemp an excellent rotation crop. Harvest time is mere 60-90 days after seed planting allowing for several crops to be grown in a season.

Dollars speak the loudest, however, and the exceptional global resurgence of hemp bears witness to the powerful commercial potential of this crop. As permitted by GATT and NAFTA millions of dollars worth of industrial hemp material is imported every year, regardless of the fact that American farmers are fighting to diversify the ailing farm industry with it. Worldwide hemp sales figures were only a few million dollars in 1993 but in 1997 sales surpassed $75 million and sales for year 2,000 are projected to be in the billions. Carpet, car parts, hemp reinforced plastics, building materials, nutritional food products and personal care products like Alterna’s hair care line, are only a few of the hemp based products already in the marketplace. Sixty years ago Popular Mechanics magazine called industrial hemp the “new billion dollar crop.” If legislation continues to pass across the nation, it’s safe to say that hemp will be the new millennium’s multi-billion-dollar-crop.

About Alterna

Since incorporating hemp seed oil into its products as of January of 1998, Alterna Professional Hair Care Products has undertaken an aggressive national hemp education campaign, called Learn More, which is designed to dispel myths and misinformation about the marked differences between hemp and marijuana. Proactive in its approach to educate the nation of hemp’s many environmental, economic and cosmetic benefits, Alterna holds fast to two proven facts: hemp is not marijuana and hemp is not a drug. A consummate education advocate, Alterna conducts industrial hemp essay contests in high schools across the nation awarding college scholarship funds. The sponsorship of the historical hemp test plot in Hawaii is a demonstration of the company’s continued commitment to the hemp movement.

“Alterna feels a responsibility to help support America’s farmers and affording them the opportunity to grow industrial hemp for American-made products is our ultimate goal. Funding the test plots in Hawaii is an honor for us and we urge other hemp industrialists to be pro-active and to offer private funding for hemp test plots in states that will follow Hawaii’s precedent-setting lead,” says Mike Brady President of Alterna’s Professional Hair Care Products.

Copyright © 2000, Alterna Applied Research Laboratories. All rights reserved.

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