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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

Will Hawaii Go To Pot – Or What?

A group of legislators is proposing that a study is needed to determine if our farmers should be allowed to grow marijuana because it would be an economic windfall for Hawaii. They claim that a marijuana crop in Hawaii could generate millions of dollars for our economy. And if it could generate that much revenue for Hawaii, then it possibly could be exported around the world.

I know you’ve heard this argument before. When sugar and pineapple were no longer able to compete in the world market because foreign sugar and pineapple were subsi-dized by countries outside the U.S., the unionized sugar and pineapple industries collapsed under their own weight. Simply put, they couldn’t compete in a worldwide market.

We expected a push for legalizing marijuana after Colorado and Washington state legalized its use. Even before the proposed study has started its investigation here, there was a lot of excitement to grow marijuana commercially. Many of the popular brand names probably have already been copyrighted by farmers who want to get in on the ground floor. After all, marijuana is a weed and grows with very little effort expended by the grower. Can’t you visualize Cheech and Chong doing commercials on television boosting the virtues of locally grown Maui Wowie and Kona Gold?

There is no indication which way the state Legislature would vote if the results favored such legislation, but there are a couple of possibilities that already have surfaced. First and foremost, the law enforcement community surely would be against any attempt to allow the cultivation of marijuana. It has said on many occasions that it is against legalizing any product that might endanger public safety. The Legislature already is dealing with the explosive issue of GMOs in locally owned agriculture.

A good question for the study to ponder is, “What will be the toxic level permitted on locally grown marijuana?” We worry a lot about spraying papayas, and you have to wonder the effect pesticides would have on marijuana.

Last year a lot of people didn’t believe the same-sex marriage legislation would become law, but it did. Legalizing marijuana is not impossible, and if there is anyone against the idea, they would be well-advised to get a early start on their opposition because this group has more support than most are willing to acknowledge.

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