Hawaii Interim Hemp Rules In Effect

Hawaii’s Department of Health last week adopted interim rules for hemp processors and products – and not everyone is happy.

The rules, which came into effect on August 9, prohibit a bunch of hemp-derived products including:

  • Hemp products for oral consumption other tablet, capsule, powder, softgel, gelcap or liquid form
  • Foods and beverages containing CBD and other cannabinoids.
  • Eliquids for vaping
  • Products for smoking
  • Products that are administered via non-oral routes.

Additionally, products must be tested by a qualified lab and there are various other regulatory and record-keeping requirements needing to be observed.

For retailers, if they are found to be selling non-compliant products, there are penalties up to $10,000 for each offence along with product confiscation.

The Hemp Roundtable – a coalition of dozens of leading companies and organizations – isn’t particularly thrilled with the interim rules, which can be viewed here..

“We are considering whether there may be an opportunity to improve them before they take final form,” states the organisation. “In the meantime, we encourage hemp producers, processors, and retailers in Hawaii to review the rules carefully.”

Medical cannabis has been legal in Hawaii since 2000, and patients and caregivers can legally grow their own cannabis plants. The rules regarding the medical cannabis sector are quite different to those covering hemp. Under the medical cannabis regime, cannabis flower, concentrates, eliquids for vaping and many edible products are permitted.

It wasn’t until the middle of 2018 that the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) issued the first licenses to hemp growers under the State’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. Expansion of Hawai’i’s hemp industry then hit a setback in 2019, with Governor David Ige vetoing a bill that sought a more permanent and permissive arrangement.

Choosing not to file its own plan with the USDA, the state is now operating under a USDA Hemp Producer License. Act 014 was signed into law last August, legalizing the growing hemp in Hawaii through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Domestic Hemp Production Program.

Licenses issued under this arrangement are active for three years unless the State of Hawaii elects to implement a USDA-approved State hemp production program.

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