Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has officially signed Senate Bill 2175 into law, a measure establishing an industrial hemp research program.
The new law authorizes “the dean of the college of tropical agriculture and human resources at the University of Hawaii to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel research program.” The dean would then be tasked with submitting a report to the legislature in 2016.
Remediation, also referred to as phytoremediation, is the practice of using plants to remove toxins from soil.
“This progressive, bipartisan bill will keep Hawaii on the cutting edge of agricultural research, help the state realize the economic capabilities of the crop, and potentially restore land previously damaged by earlier contamination,” says Representative Cynthia Thielen, one of the bill’s sponsors. “With its ability to cleanse the soil of toxins and heavy metals, industrial hemp could be an environmentally friendly alternative to existing methods. Using industrial hemp as a phytoremediator also removes the need to excavate or relocate topsoil in contaminated lands, drastically decreasing costs and curtailing the spread of toxic waste to other areas.