Month: January 2015

University of Hawaii Receives Approval from DEA to Import Hemp Seeds from Australia

The University of Hawaii has received a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to import hemp seeds from Australia, to be used as part of the state’s Industrial Hemp Research Project.

“This project is just the first step in establishing Hawaii as a leader in the growth and production of industrial hemp and its products,” says Representative Cynthia Thielen.

“I am looking forward to planting and cultivating this important crop which has so much potential for Hawaii’s agricultural future”, says Harry Ako, a professor at the University of Hawaii who will serve as the lead researcher for the hemp research project. “It is exciting knowing that the University of Hawaii, and our state, is at the forefront in bringing industrial hemp back to our farmers as a crop which offers so much for so many.”

According to congressional research, the United States imports roughly half a billion dollars in hemp from other countries (primarily Canada and China) while retaining the illegality of its cultivation amongst its own farmers. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist of over 25,000 various products.


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Virginia House Committee Approves Hemp Bill

Virginia’s House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resource voted 13 to 7 Thursday to approve House Bill 1277, a proposal to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes.

“If you look at the potential economic advantages that industrial hemp would provide for the state, particularly the Southside and the Southwest, it could be an economic boon in terms of the amount of research we could do on it,” says Delegate Joseph R. Yost, the measure’s primary sponsor.

If approved into law, the proposal would direct the Department of Agriculture to establish an industrial hemp research program, including determining specific regulations.

Last year federal lawmakers approved a bill explicitly allowing hemp to be grown when being done as part of a state-sanctioned research program.


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Legislation to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession Filed in Delaware

Delaware State Representative Helene Keeley has filed House Bill 39, a proposal to decriminalize cannabis possession.

“There’s definitely a generational shift going on here,” says Rep. Keeley. “There are a lot of people out there who, instead of going home and having a martini, or going home and having a glass of wine, they want to go home and take a couple hits. For them that is just as relaxing as having a glass of wine.”

Keeley’s proposal would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, making it a simple $100 ticket rather than an arrestable misdemeanor.

Governor Jack Markell has indicated that he’s likely to support the measure.

“The governor hasn’t reviewed Rep. Keeley’s proposed legislation, but as we have said in the past, he is open to continuing conversations about decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” says Jonathon Dworkin, a spokesman for Markell.

A similar proposal was approved in June by the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, though unfortunately time ran out on the session before a full House vote was scheduled.

Under current Delaware law, the possession of even a miniscule amount of cannabis can result in a 3-month jail sentence. According to polling released in March, 68% of Delaware voters support decriminalizing cannabis.


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