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Maui and its Hemptastic Future

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

The legalization of hemp agriculture in 2015 opened a door to many opportunities for hemp on Maui. How can we ensure the benefits cultivated from hemp agriculture are shared widely?

We feel honored to introduce guest author Steve Rose to you. Steve has meant a lot for the hemp movement and has been involved since the 60’s. Four years ago he brought together group of Maui Hempsters to create the Maui Hemp Institute for Research & Development. Learn more about the inspiring vision and plans the organization has for hemp on the island of Maui!

HEMP = Hawaiian Economic Money Producer

Hemp is the future of a new, sustainable, local, agricultural-based economy for Maui: foods, fuels, consumer products, health & wellbeing, construction materials, jobs, investments, sustainable development… and so much more!

Hemp agriculture was legalized in Hawaii almost three years ago, and the long wait for planting permits is almost over. We at the Maui Hemp Institute for Research and Development (MHIRD) are preparing for hemp’s “Hemptastic” arrival and growth on Maui. One of our primary goals is to assure the introduction of Hemp Agriculture to Maui is, “pono” (in balance) with respect to the “Aina” (mother earth) and Kama'aina (long time, local populace).

Other Hawaiian Islands have already planted hemp to grow seeds for farm research. Shortly after the Spring Solstice, Maui will plant its first “approved seed” crop for its local farmers. Hawaiian Elders have created a special protocol and chant to bless the first and all subsequent Hemp plantings on Maui. Maui’s “approved seeds” will be harvested in early summer and will be made available for farmers participating in the state’s Research Agricultural Program, which is finally scheduled to begin this summer. The program plans to issue a limited number of permits to local Maui farmers for research purposes. It is our hope that the state at that time will expand the proposed program and open this process to all Maui farmers allowing all who apply to import seed stocks from the free market.

U.S. hemp industries have seen Hemptastic growth and proven economic agricultural success. According to Vote Hemp, over 25,000 acres of hemp were harvested on the mainland in 2017. Recently many states have made dedicated investments in the future of hemp: NY $5 Million, PA $3 Million and others like Colorado are now able to invest returns on their investments (via taxes) to schools, infrastructure, and veterans care, to name a few. MHIRD is actively supporting and reaching out to the “Powers that Be” to follow these examples in providing actual dollars in support of the new agricultural future of the Island.

It was a long arduous task getting hemp legalized in Hawaii in 2015. With crops soon to be finally in the ground, it is our mission to move forward faster into large-scale hemp agriculture here in the Islands.

What could hemp’s future on Maui look like?

Will Maui replicate its “plantation” history, mono-cropping hemp for high-profit CBD extraction, with low paying agricultural jobs for most and big profits for just a few? Or will hemp agriculture on Maui create sustainability in food, fuel, housing, soil rebuilding and a huge assortment of value-added products sold to locals and our millions of visitors?

As it is always difficult to assert control over the Big Money and the “Powers That Be”, our prediction is that it will be a mix of both. Our hope, and with the public’s support, MHIRD’s goal is to ensure that the people of Maui will benefit from both avenues with a mix that’s a win-win scenario for all.

MHIRD’s agenda is to first support soil remediation, using hemp to revitalize and clean the soil after over a hundred years of mono-crop, high chemical ag-abuse. Growing industrial hemp for fiber will sequester much of the chemicals that need to be extracted from the land, leaving soils ready for the next steps of replenishment (using proven Hawaiian and Korean natural farming methods) to once again produce food for the populous.

The next step will be to turn hemp fiber into Hempcrete for much needed housing. A new hemp construction industry, using locally grown material, would be in contrast to the current norm of importing almost all building materials.

The remaining parts of the hemp plant not used in construction can be turned into bio-fuel and have other uses. Research can also begin into value-added products (i.e.: Hemp Beer pictured below), animal food and bedding, ocean clean up, water filtration and a host of others. Let the innovation begin!

Selected areas on Maui with existing high quality, clean, transitioning to organic soils, will be used for planting hemp for food-grade use, cannabinoid extraction and cultivar research. With more than 30 microclimates on Maui, and three growing seasons, research into hemp cultivars can be matched to various worldwide climates with accelerated results. MHIRD has been contacted by a number of mainland and international companies interested in growing out hemp for CBD’s and other nutraceuticals. We see this as a multi-million dollar economic sector “growing” on the Island in a very short time frame.

The creation of a Maui Hemp Institute campus to support this work is also high on our agenda, with land acquisition and construction planned to begin in 2020.

This is just beginning and we at the Maui Hemp Institute for Research and Development are all looking forward to the Hemptastic sustainable future that lies ahead for Maui…and beyond!

Stay tuned…Aloha!



The mission of the Maui Hemp Institute for Research and Development (MHIRD) is to promote and facilitate the growing of hemp and production of hemp related products, on Maui and throughout Hawaii Nei, through research, education, and advocacy. Steve Rose is the ”Chief Executive Hempster” for MHIRD.



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