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DEA Shuts Down Hawai`I's Industrial Hemp Research Project
By Cynthia Thielen


Contact: Rep. Cynthia Thielen (586-6480)

September 30, 2003


This morning, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials supervised the shut down of the Hawai`i Industrial Hemp Research Project.
Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R. Kailua, Kaneohe Bay), one of the primary supporters of this project, declared:

"In 1999, with all the vacant sugar land, we looked to viable crops which had added value for our economy. Industrial hemp led the list, as the processed crop is used for automotive parts, housing materials, nutritional food and body-care products, and has 25,000 other commercial uses. Industrial hemp seed was planted in Hawai`i's soil on December 14, 1999, funded by a private grant from a major hair care company. The Principal Investigator, David West, Ph.D., brought in industrial hemp seed from around the world, and varieties from China appeared most suited for our latitude. University of Hawai`i scientists also conducted tests and determined the hemp plant had superior abilities to pull contaminants from the soil."

During the last two years, the DEA put the project on a "temporary permit" status, thereby negatively impacting the project's ability to obtain non-profit and private sector funding. The last funding came in early 2003. Rep. Thielen stated, "This crop, which has .03 or less THC, had great promise for our economy. Canada, Germany, the UK, China, and about 25 other industrialized nations benefit economically from growing, processing, and using industrial hemp. Unfortunately federal inaction led to its demise in Hawai`i."


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