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Maui Celebrates the Future of Industrial Hemp in Hawai‘i

June 16, 2014
Maui Weekly

Maui's First National Hemp History Week began on Monday, June 2, with Mayor Alan Arakawa signing a proclamation, and ended with the Maui County Council signing a resolution. Both documents recognize the importance of industrial hemp research to Maui, according to a press release submitted by Gylian Solay of

Maui County is the only county in the nation to receive these official declarations.

Councilmember Don Guzman, chair of the Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture & Recreation Committee, introduced the resolution. State Rep. Cynthia Thielen and state Sen. Mike Gabbard provided testimony to support and ensure the passage of the resolution.

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Denise Key of, the “Maui Hempress Visionary,” was the major force behind bringing public attention to the legalization of industrial hemp research. Kimokeo Kapahulehua is a continuing supporter to’s mission.

The law, making industrial hemp research legal, was passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on April 30.

Maui County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons introduced the proclamation to the mayor.

Also discussed at the mayor's signing was an acknowledgment of the need to create an infrastructure to support the production of industrial hemp when it becomes legal to grow commercially on all islands.

Denise Key of, the "Maui Hempress Visionary," was the major force behind bringing public attention to the legalization of industrial hemp research. As the promoter and organizer of Maui's First National Hemp History Week, she was also instrumental in pushing through the county's proclamation and resolution.

During National Hemp History Week, Key shared information about the potential of industrial hemp for Maui at various locations on the island.

"The energy at the tables was exciting and contagious," said Key. "From ages 14 to 82, people were exchanging their knowledge about industrial hemp."

Volunteers Danell Shrestha, Wilson Angel and Wendy Tucker are supporters of's ongoing efforts.

Sponsors of Maui's First National Hemp History Week included: Dr. Bronner's, which shipped free samples of shaving lotion and soaps made from hemp oils. Manitoba, a Canada-based company, provided packets of Hemp Hearts and protein powder. Steve Rose, a representative for the two companies, distributed information about the products' health benefits.

Whole Foods, Down to Earth, Hawaiian Moons, Lipoa Street Farmers Market and Awakening in Paradise served as venues for information about industrial hemp and its various products that could be produced on the islands. Participating stores also offered discounts on industrial hemp products.

Maui Architect George Rixey displayed samples of Hempcrete and other building materials manufactured from industrial hemp grown in Ireland.

" and the organizers of National Hemp History Week are diligently working to transform the awareness of industrial hemp's benefits into the reality of growing it again in our country," said Key.

For more information and upcoming classes on building and farming with industrial hemp, join the email list at



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