Much of Hawaii hemp crop destroyed as farmers search for viable cultivars

More than 50% of Hawaii’s 2019 hemp crop had to be destroyed because of elevated THC levels, a problem that state agriculture officials attribute to a lack of cultivars suited to a tropical climate.

Eighteen crops were destroyed and another four hemp crops exceeded legal THC limits but were granted waivers because the THC was close to the legal limit of 0.3%, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Hawaii has granted 30 permits to grow hemp.

The state faces a formidable challenge developing a hemp industry.

The island state could see three to four hemp crops a year because of its mostly tropical climate, state agriculture officials said.

But the tropical weather also makes it a challenge for farmers working with hemp cultivars developed in Canada or the European Union, where summer days are much longer and the nights much cooler.

A bill that would have created a permanent commercial hemp program in Hawaii was vetoed in July by Gov. David Ige.

The measure also would have allowed growers to remove leaf and flower material – which contains CBD – from the growth site, which is currently prohibited in Hawaii.

Ige said he was concerned, in part, because the bill restricted the state’s ability to test hemp plants to once a year.