Why doesn't Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. grow industrial hemp instead of sugar cane?
Because of voter interest, I asked company officials that question during my 2012 campaign for the Upcountry council seat. HC&S officials answered that, in the relatively short summer days of our latitude, the hemp plant goes to seed at two feet. In the longer summer days farther north, hemp grows to six feet before it seeds.
So, if you want seeds, Maui no ka oi. But, if you want fiber mass for fabric, Maui cannot compete with more northern locations worldwide. Perhaps that is also why Maui does not commercially grow fast-growing annual plants like wheat and corn but concentrates on cane, which needs a longer time to mature. Sometimes it pays to ask the experts, especially if it relates to their livelihood.
This is a good time to announce that I will not seek the Upcountry council seat this year. In 2012, I ran to publicize the unfair treatment of small parcel owners Upcountry by the county's water meter policy as documented in www.umla.ws. I thank Maui County residents for their 9,044 votes. This year, I will leave politics to the experts.