Cannabis, an extremely versatile plant is going through a renaissance in the 21st century.

With the help of community leaders, proactive legislators, and helpful government officials, support for those who want to produce and use this crop for medicinal and industrial uses is growing. Mahalo nui to all those who have taken their time to look at this issue in a deliberate manner, and provide substantive support to make the commercial production of cannabis a reality. Mahalo to the Hawaii Legislature and the Hawaii Department of Health for doing what they can to legalize and make safely available an important medicine.

As Hawaii continues with its process of figuring out how to cultivate and regulate this herb commercially, we should take a look at some positive aspects of this crop, as well as a bit of legal background on where we are and how we got here.

A display at the Marijuana Expo at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Economic Benefits

According to Wikipedia (and we believe everything they post, right?) globally, in 2013, 60,400 kilograms of cannabis were produced legally. In 2013 between 128 and 232 million people are thought to have used cannabis as a recreational drug (2.7 percent to 4.9 percent of the global population between the ages of 15 and 65).

The Economist magazine estimates the global cannabis black market value at $50 billion. U.S. consumption of various legal and imported hemp products in 2013 increased 24 percent to $581 million. Low THC hemp grown for medicinal purposes is valued at $1,000pound.

Clearly, there is a lot of money to be made with this crop. There is abundant unused land and water for agriculture here. Hawaii can and should position itself to reap considerable profits exporting cannabis products and marketing them locally.…

Loading The Medical Cannabis Industry Will Benefit Hawaii’s Agribusiness Sector

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About the Author

  • Simon Russell
    Simon Russell is an agricultural consultant/organic farmer living on Maui with his wife and 2 children. Simon is the State Vice President for the Hawaii Farmers Union United. Simon likes to formulate and implement policy that will help people make a living in industries that take Hawaii towards resilient self sufficiency and agricultural sustainability. As a point of disclosure, Simon is currently an unpaid partner with Medical Medicinals LLC, which will submit an application for a Medical Marijuana dispensary license next month.