Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Final Reading – Dispensaries in Hawaii Next Step

On the last day of the 2015 regular session, the House passed on final reading HB321, CD1, which creates a statewide distribution system for medical marijuana and establishes the parameters for individuals and entities to apply to set up the dispensaries. Medical Marijuana

“There are an estimated 13,000 qualifying patients throughout the state who are desperately looking to find a safe, reliable and convenient access to medical marijuana.  This bill is a reasonable and compassionate response to the needs of our citizens,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully Pawaa, Manoa), who co-introduced the bill along with House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu).  Both are long-time supporters of medical marijuana dispensaries.

“While the Legislature made legal the medical use of marijuana on June 14, 2000, the law has remained silent for 15 years on how patients can obtain medical marijuana if they or their caregivers are unable to grow their own supply,” Souki added.  “There has been a desperate need for a safe and reliable dispensary system statewide for medical marijuana for a long time.  This bill finally answers that need.”

The measure follows closely the recommendations of the Task Force commissioned by the Legislature in 2013 to study the implementation of medical marijuana dispensaries.  It also provides for opportunities to improve the system and correct any shortcomings on a go-forward basis.

The bill, which also passed the Senate, now goes to the Governor for his signature, veto or passage without his signature.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILL:

  • Allows for eight (8) dispensary licensees in the state: three (3) on Oahu, two (2) on Big Island and two (2) on Maui County; one (1) on Kauai;
  • Each licensee may own, operate or subcontract up to two production centers and up to two retail dispensing locations; prohibits dispensary from being located in same place as production center;
  • Requires the Department of Health to engage in public education and training regarding medical marijuana;
  • Requires the Department of Health to adopt interim rules by Jan. 4, 2016, for the establishment and management of the medical marijuana dispensary system;
  • Tasks the Department of Health with accepting applications for dispensary licenses from Jan. 12, 2016, to Jan. 29, 2016, and announcing licensees by April 15, 2016;
  • Tasks the Department of Health to select licensees based on minimum requirements and merit based factors including: the capacity to meet the needs of patients; ability to comply with criminal background checks, inventory controls, and security requirements; ability to operate a business; and financial stability and access to financial resources;
  • Allows the Department of Health to license additional operators after Oct. 1, 2017, based on qualifying patient need;
  • Dispensaries must comply with all zoning regulations and will not be permitted within 750 ft. of a playground, public housing or school;
  • Licensees may begin dispensing marijuana and manufactured marijuana products on July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health;
  • Licensed applicants must pay (a) $5,000 non-refundable application fee, (b) an additional $75,000 fee for each license approved, and (c) a $50,000 annual renewal fee;
  • Establishes the criteria for license applications to require that an individual applicant: be a legal resident of the State for not less than five years, be over the age of 21, and have no felony convictions;
  • Establishes the minimum criteria for license applications to require that an entity applicant: be organized under the laws of the state and have a Hawaii tax ID number, have a 51 percent or greater Hawaii based ownership stake, have at least $1,000,000 under its control for each license applied for with an additional $100,000 available for each retail dispensing location;
  • Imposes regular general excise taxes onto the sale of marijuana and manufactured products within the dispensary system and does not include any additional taxes;
  • Allows qualifying patients to obtain medical marijuana from primary caregivers who cultivate or by personally cultivating marijuana until Dec. 31, 2018;
  • Allows a primary caregiver or legal guardian to cultivate marijuana after Dec. 31, 2018, if qualifying patient is a minor or adult lacking legal capacity or who is located on any island with no dispensary;
  • Expands the definition of “debilitating medical condition” for the purpose of authorizing use to include post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Expands the Department of Health’s authority to conduct criminal background checks;
  • Requires dispensaries to allow announced and unlimited unannounced inspections and to conduct annual financial audits; and
  • Requires the Department of Health to file annual report to Governor and Legislature on dispensaries.

Additional details of the measure can be found in the bill text and the committee report at the links below:

Big Island Chocolate Festival NEXT WEEKEND!

Show the gal in your life how much you care Mother’s Day weekend with tickets to the decadent Big Island Chocolate Festival gala 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, May 9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 057
Indulge in both savory and sweet chocolate creations by top chefs complemented by the harp and violin duo String Beings, fine wines and handcrafted ales, Bacardi cocktails, chocolate sculpting, chocolate body painting and dancing.

Among the culinary offerings, festival host The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is serving savory cocoa nib-crusted beef long rib with white corn and pickled roots, plus Waialua Estate chocolate pate with caramelized pineapple for dessert.

In addition, Hawai‘i Community College students offer an all-you-can-eat cuisine bar with a Chicken Mole Rice Bowl, make-your-own spinach/strawberry salad and tasty tofu and fish poke. Big Island Candies joins this year’s festival sharing buttery shortbread cookies topped with luscious Amoretti cookie spreads.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 020

Fun includes voting for your favorite culinary station while chefs, chocolatiers and cacao growers also vie in a variety of contests judged by a stable of celebrity chefs: Internationally acclaimed Derek Poirier of Valrhona, Donald Wressell of Guittard. Top 10 Pastry Chef in America Stanton Ho and Kona’s own Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine founder Sam Choy.

Awards will also be presented to statewide college culinary students competing in a chocolate food competition earlier that day.

The festive gala caps three days of choc-licious fun and hands-on learning opportunities presented by the Kona Cacao Association. All activities are open to the public and benefit the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and a capital campaign to build a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 012

Gala admission is $75 with VIP tickets for $100. Find gala and festival seminars details, plus tix info at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Get updates on facebook and #BIChocoFest. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Special room rates of $299 including breakfast for two are offered by The Fairmont Orchid. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

‘Chocolate Soirée’ Dinner a Prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival

As a prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival, local event planning and catering company The Feeding Leaf presents the premier “Chocolate Soirée” dinner on Thursday, May 7, 5-8 p.m. at Kokoleka Lani Farms.

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

The seven-course feast features Original Hawaiian Chocolate, savory and sweet, in dishes created by notable chefs like Stanton Ho (Amoretti), Clayton Arakawa (Mauna Lani Resort), Angela Smith (Sweet Eatz), and Scott Hiraishi (The Feeding Leaf), assisted by culinary students from University of Hawai‘i Center—West Hawai‘i Campus.

Also providing chocolate for the Soirée, Kokoleka Lani Farms is a working cacao farm in Keauhou, run by Greg Colden and Marty Corrigan, owner-operators of Kona Natural Soap Company. By special arrangement, the exclusive Chocolate Soirée event begins in their retail shop, with passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary students. Dinner will be served family-style in their adjacent home.

Chocolate cocktail concoctions will be provided by mixologist and general manager Keith Malini of Ray’s on the Bay, the oceanfront restaurant at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Ray’s on the Bay has also selected fine wines to serve with the elegant farm-to-fork feast, and the restaurant will feature one of the signature chocolate entrees on their dinner menu in the days leading up to the event.

“The Chocolate Soirée is a fun way for us to do some education. It gives the students a chance to work with top chefs in a unique environment, and to work with the more unusual Hawai‘i Island ingredients they don’t see or use every day,” said The Feeding Leaf General Manager Les Apoliona.

“It gives our guests a chance to learn about new and different aspects of local chocolate while they enjoy a beautiful, exclusive dinner at the source,” he said. “We’re so grateful to Greg and Marty for opening their home and their cacao farm for us. And, with two more days of chocolate indulgence Friday and Saturday, we think this will be and outstanding pre-event for Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

Tickets for Chocolate Soirée are limited to 100 at $125 per person, including cocktails and wines, available at Kona Wine Market and Westside Wines, online at wew.eventbrite.com/e/chocolate-soiree-tickets-16328176014, or by calling 808-325-3803. Big Island Chocolate Festival takes place May 8-9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, with Chocolate Gala, Seminars, Chocolate Competition and more. Part of the proceeds benefit American Culinary Federation/Kona Kohala Chefs Association scholarships.

The Feeding Leaf catering and event company specializes in Hawai‘i-raised food for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Les Apoliona, (808) 325-3803, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

Increased Vigilance for Bird Flu Encouraged for Hawaii Poultry and Bird Owners

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is encouraging Hawaii commercial and backyard poultry and bird owners to be vigilant due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 along the Pacific flyway (migratory bird path). Hawaii bird and poultry owners are encouraged to institute and maintain good biosecurity measures, which include good sanitation practices and making sure that their birds do not come in contact with other wild and migratory birds.

Flyways

“Hawaii may be geographically far from other land masses, but some migratory birds do fly to Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Bird owners, particularly those who keep their birds outdoors should take precautions, be vigilant and report any symptoms of diseased or dead birds in their flocks.”

Since December 2014, there have been several confirmed outbreaks of HPAI H5 in the Pacific flyway (California, Utah, Nevada and Idaho). In March, new infected premises were also detected along the Central and Mississippi flyways (Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas). The strain that is circulating is a mix of the highly pathogenic Asian and low pathogenic North American strains and has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from the current strains of HPAI to be low. No human cases of these strains have been detected in the United State, Canada, or internationally.

Fortunately, HDOA already has established strict bird import laws that require permits, inspections, health certificates, and in some cases, isolation periods prior to arrival and physical identification. There is also an embargo on importing birds through the mail.

The HDOA veterinarians have been closely monitoring the outbreaks and have implemented pre-entry avian influenza test requirements on imported poultry and birds. In addition, import restrictions have been placed on all poultry, other birds, hatching eggs and day-old chicks from affected zones within states to prevent the importation of infected birds. HDOA also conducts continuous surveillance on poultry within the state for avian influenza.

In Canada and affected states in the U.S., the outbreaks have occurred in domestic turkey farms and some back yard poultry farms that have association with wild waterfowl. There have been no farm-to-farm transmissions and no human illnesses associated with this disease outbreak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the departments of agriculture in the affected states have quickly quarantined, disposed of infected flocks and set up quarantine and surveillance zones to help insure the disease does not spread.

Poultry and bird owners in Hawaii who notice high mortality in their poultry or birds should contact the HDOA, Division of Animal Industry at (808) 483-7106 to report their losses.

For more information on avian influenza, go to the HDOA website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/ldc/adconcerns/aiinfo/

Or, USDA website: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=avian_influenza.html

Or, CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5/index.htm

Big Island Chocolate Festival Expands

Craving chocolate? Who doesn’t? The fourth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival delivers with an array of fun, elegant and taste-tempting activities, seminars and culinary adventures May 7-9.
Big Island Chocolate Festival 057

Most of the chocolatey goodness will be offered at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, but three new events take place at Kona farms.

Thursday, May 7: The festival lineup starts 9 a.m.-noon with a hands-on, chocolate-making class Thursday, May 7 by Una Greenaway at her Kuaiwi Farm in Captain Cook. Next up is a 5-9 p.m. farm-to-plate, chocolate-themed dinner at Kokoleka Lani cacao farm in Holualoa.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 097

Dubbed a “Chocolate Soiree,” the scrumptious, seven-course meal will be prepared by celebrity pastry chef Stanton Ho, Clayton Arakawa of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows and Scott Hiraishi of The Feeding Leaf.

Friday, May 8: Find public culinary demonstrations and agriculture-themed seminars at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i starting at noon with “Cacao Fermentation and Chocolate Micro-Terroir” by Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate. “Hawai‘i Cacao Farming-Tree-to-Bar” is presented 1 p.m. by Tom Menezes of Hawaiian Crown Hilo and Una Greenaway of Kuaiwi Farms.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 089

Learn “How to Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation” during demonstrations by Ecole Valrhona Western USA Pastry Chef Derek Poirier at 2 p.m. and Chef Stanton Ho at 3:30 p.m. Geared for home cooks, each culinary seminar offers sampling.

Saturday, May 9: The festival moves 9 a.m. to Kokoleka Lani Farm to see how cacao is grown and used in the production of Kona Natural Soap Company products. Also during this time, statewide college food service students compete in a culinary competition using chocolate at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 135

The contest is open to the public for viewing 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; come cheer on these future chefs! Winners of the annual contest will be announced that evening during the gala.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 087

Chocolate fun culminates 5:30-9 p.m. in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom for the festival gala. Attendees can enjoy both savory and sweet chocolate cuisine by top island chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners while voting for their favorite culinary station.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 042

Diners can also visit the “all you can enjoy” mole and salad bars.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 032

Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, Bacardi cocktails, chocolate sculpting by Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, chocolate body painting, a photo booth and a silent auction. Culinary tasting will be accompanied by harp and violin duo String Beings, followed by a disc jockey offering dance music from 8-9 p.m.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 082Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and a capital campaign to build a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 024

Find pricing details and ticket locations at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Gala admission is $75 with VIP tickets for $100. Purchase Friday seminars online as four classes for $75 or at the door individually at $30 each. The Kokoleka Lani Farm tour is $25. To book the $50 Kuaiwi Farm chocolate-making class, phone 808-328-8888. Purchase $125 Chocolate Soiree tickets, at http://bit.ly/ChocolateFarmToPlate.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 071

Special room rates of $299 including breakfast for two are being offering by the Fairmont Orchid. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Kauai Biomass Project Nears Completion

The new biomass-to-energy power plant near Koloa on Kauai has successfully started its hot commissioning and expects to begin selling electricity to Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) by the beginning of May 2015.

The 6.7-megawatt biomass-to-energy facility will burn wood chips from trees grown and harvested on Kauai.  The plant will provide more than 11 percent of the island’s energy needs.  Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

The plant is being constructed by Green Energy Team LLC (GET), a Hawaii limited liability company, and is using a biomass energy generation technology developed by Standardkessel Baumgarte, a German company that is one of the world leaders in energy technology.

The plant will burn wood chips produced from several sources on Kauai, including short-rotation trees grown on about 2,000 acres of land and several locations on Kauai that have been cleared of invasive species.

The plant will have the capacity to generate 7.5-megawatts of renewable energy to be delivered as electricity to KIUC under a power purchase agreement approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in October 2011. Unlike solar and wind energy, the plant will provide firm power—day and night, independent of weather conditions—to KIUC. It will supply about 11 percent of Kauai’s annual electricity needs and will substitute power produced by diesel generators.

The facility will contribute to the State’s renewable energy portfolio goals that presently aim to have 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs from renewable resources. It will also be an addition to KIUC’s renewable energy portfolio, which currently consists of several hydropower projects and the utility co-op’s own two solar farms as well as other solar farms and customer-sited solar photovoltaic systems.

Construction on Green Energy Team’s biomass plant began in January 2013 and is nearly completed. Standardkessel provided the design and equipment for the plant and is providing construction management for the project. Construction was done by Bodell Construction Company; final work shall be completed by Diana Prince Construction, Inc. Financing for construction of the $90 million project is being provided by Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

Once completed and operational, Green Energy Team’s plant will create 39 permanent operating jobs and many indirect jobs for local service providers and agricultural operations.

The Kauai-based plant will be the first closed-loop biomass-to-energy plant in the United States and fueled by trees grown on-island. This is also the first commercial biomass project since the period when former sugar companies also sold electricity to Hawaii’s electric utilities.

Expanded Access to Fresh Produce for Low-Income Individuals and Families

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made funds available that enable the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide eligible farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with free electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment to process Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

EBT Card

Administered through the Farmer’s Market Coalition (FMC), the Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program expands access to fresh produce for SNAP beneficiaries and expands commerce options for farmers and farmers markets.

The program is available to only to SNAP-authorized farmers markets and direct marketing farmers that were authorized before November 18, 2011. If the applying farmers and famers markets receive approval, the FMC will cover the costs of purchasing or renting SNAP EBT equipment and services (set-up costs, monthly service fees, and wireless fees) for up to three years. Though transaction fees will not be covered, the selected farmers and farmers markets will get to choose their own SNAP EBT service provider from a list of participating companies.

The Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program is a first-come first-serve opportunity, and the program ends when the funds have been distributed.

If a farmers market or direct marketing farmer isn’t yet SNAP-authorized, or became SNAP-authorized on or after November 18, 2011, then they may be eligible for free equipment through MarketLink. Learn more about MarketLink’s application process at www.marketlink.org.

For more information on the Free SNAP EBT Equipment Program, including frequently asked questions, an eligibility chart, background information and application instructions, visit http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/programs/freesnapebt/.

Click here for a county-by-county listing of Farmers Markets.

Quarantine Restrictions Extended to All Coffee Grown on Oahu

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture (HBOA) voted Wednesday to place coffee grown on all areas of Oahu under the same quarantine restrictions as was issued earlier for the Waialua area on Oahu and Hawaii Island to prevent the spread of the coffee berry borer (CBB).

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

On Dec. 17, 2014, HBOA placed coffee grown at Waialua Estate Coffee Farms and coffee roasted at the Old Waialua Sugar Mill under the same quarantine restrictions as coffee grown on Hawaii Island due to the detection of CBB infestations at the sites. Since the initial detections in Waialua, CBB has been found in Wahiawa and Poamoho in Central Oahu.

Today, the board voted unanimously to expand the designated infested area and extend the interisland quarantine restrictions to all of Oahu beginning tomorrow, Feb. 25, 2015.

“Expanding the coffee quarantine safeguards to cover Oahu is an important step in helping to keep other coffee-growing islands free of the coffee berry borer,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the HBOA. “Oahu is a hub for the state’s coffee trade and we need to make sure that coffee beans that are imported to, as well as exported from Oahu are not spreading this destructive pest.”

So far, CBB has not been detected on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

The quarantine restrictions imposed today for Oahu are exactly the same as those which have been in effect for coffee from Hawaii Island since December 2010. It requires a permit from HDOA to transport unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags and coffee harvesting equipment from CBB-infested islands to other non-infested areas or islands to prevent CBB movement. The rules also require certain treatments and inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors prior to shipping. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment passed inspection requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment. The coffee beans must also be roasted at a facility that is at least five miles from any commercial coffee-growing area.

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in September 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. In early December 2014, HDOA confirmed the presence of the CBB (Hypothenemus hampei) on the coffee farm in Waialua, Oahu. This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. CBB is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America.

Since its detection in Kona in 2010, Big Island coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation practices. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestations down to about 20 percent of the coffee crop.

For more information on CBB in Hawaii, go to HDOA’s CBB information page at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cbbinfo/

Public Workshops Scheduled For Input On Statewide Water Resource Protection Plan

The Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) is in the process of updating the statewide Water Resource Protection Plan (WRPP) and is seeking the community’s input on water resource issues of importance.

The purpose of the Water Resource Protection Plan is to establish policies and identify actions needed to ensure the long-term protection and sustainability of Hawaii’s precious and limited ground and surface water resources.

Commission staff will be holding seven workshops statewide starting next week, so people on each island may participate. All workshops are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include a short slideshow about the Water Resource Protection Plan. This will be followed by smaller group discussions to talk in more detail about specific water resource issues in each community.

The meeting schedule locations and dates follow.

water meetings

For more information, visit the WRPP update website at  http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/cwrm/planning/hiwaterplan/wrpp/wrpp2014/

2015 – Kauluwehi Lei Contest

Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), Hawai‘i Island Natural Area Reserves (NARS), the Three Mountain Alliance (TMA), and the Wailoa Arts and Cultural Center are proud to present Kauluwehi, a juried lei art contest and exhibition celebrating the native species, Hawaiian culture, and sustainable picking practices on Hawai‘i Island.

lei making image

Kauluwehi 2014 features three main categories including Kahiko (traditional style lei), ‘Auana (contemporary lei), and Lei Hulu (feather lei). The Kahiko category features several subcategories, each showcasing a particular material such as the leaves, flowers, or the fruit and seed of a plant. The ‘Auana category moves away from the traditional style of lei making by incorporating recycled materials, synthetic materials, and exotic plant materials. Lei will be judged on craftsmanship, creativeness of design, uniqueness of material, and the complexity or effort that is put into it.  We invite amateur and professional lei artist of all ages to take part in the Hawaiian tradition of lei making!

lei making workshop

2015 Lei Hikes:

March 7th: Mauna Kea lei workshop. Spaces are limited.  View flier for registration information – Ka‘ohe Workshop 

More Information:

Lei Submission Form 2015

Kauluwehi Prospectus 2015

CTAHR Article: Hawaiian Ecosystems and Culture – Growing Lei Plants

 

Hawaii Island Spring Bearded Turkey Season Begins March 1st

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaii Island Branch announces the opening of the 2015 Spring Bearded Turkey Hunting Season on Sunday, March 1, 2015.

DLNR

The spring season will run 31 consecutive days through Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  The spring season will be for bearded turkeys only in locations identified below.  The season length, bag limits, and hunting areas are those established in Title 13, Chapter 122, “Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting, Field Trials and Commercial Shooting Preserves.”  The appellate court ruling (Tanaka v. State, December 31, 2007) removed the Department’s ability to make any seasonal adjustments.  The following conditions and restrictions will be in effect:

  • The daily bag limit shall be two bearded turkeys per hunter with a season bag limit of two.
  • All hunters are required to have a current unused turkey tag in their possession while hunting.
  • Tags are currently free of charge.
  • Turkey tags are nontransferable and must be fastened with snaps and secured tightly around the neck or tarsus of any bird taken immediately after the kill.
  • Tags may be obtained from any Hawaii Island Division of Forestry and Wildlife office and a number of commercial vendors.
  • Hunters must present current State of Hawaii Hunting License when obtaining tags.
  • Turkey tags are also required on private land.

Information may be obtained by contacting Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices at the following phone numbers:  Hilo: (808) 974-4221; Kamuela: (808) 887-6063 or the main office in Honolulu at (808) 587-0166.

Department of Health Now in Charge of Medical Marijuana – Rules Change

The Hawaii State Department of Health has completed the transfer of the medical marijuana registration program from the Department of Public Safety. The program officially became part of the Department of Health on Jan. 1, 2015. Hawaii is one of 23 states along with the District of Columbia that allows medical marijuana use.

Possession of a valid medical marijuana registration card issued by the Department of Health and based on the written certification of a physician permits the lawful cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Act 177 was signed into law in June 2013 and authorized the transfer of the 14-year-old program to the Department of Health. As a health initiative, the medical marijuana program is better aligned with the Department of Health’s mission and the department’s experience in working with patients and health programs that involve public outreach, education and safeguarding patient privacy.

Act 178, which was also signed into law in June 2013, amends sections of the existing law. The Department of Health has made the following changes to comply with the law:

  • Law Enforcement 24/7 Online Verification – In accordance with Act 178, the Department of Health will provide 24/7 subject verification to designated law enforcement officers. Although no confidential information will be released, designated law enforcement officers will be able to verify if an individual has a valid medical marijuana registration card should the need arise for official law enforcement purposes. Designated officers are being trained by the department.
  • Registration Fee Increase -The patient medical marijuana registration fee has increased from $25 to $35 effective Jan. 1, 2015. A new, convenient online application and payment system makes the application process easier and faster. A portal administration fee of $3.50 will be charged for the required online services. “We’re working to make the medical marijuana program more accessible to Hawaii residents who may have a qualifying debilitating medical condition and could benefit from medicinal use of marijuana,” said Scottina “Scotty” Malia Ruis, medical marijuana program coordinator with the Department of Health.

The Hawaii Department of Health has also initiated a number of upgrades to the medical marijuana program:

Click to enter site

Click to enter site

  • New Medical Marijuana Website – The Department of Health has established a website with information on the medical marijuana program at www.health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana This is the most complete and up-to-date source of information for patients, physicians, law enforcement officials and the public. The site’s home page features a sign-up box for automatic medical marijuana program updates. This is the best way to keep abreast of all improvements and changes as the Department of Health’s medical marijuana program develops.
  • Phone Information Hotline – The Department of Health has established a phone hotline with recorded messages on different aspects of the medical marijuana program. The phone number is 733-2177. Toll free numbers have also been established for neighbor island residents: Hawaii Island residents may call 974-4000, ext. 32177; Maui residents may call 984-2400, ext. 32177; and Kauai residents may call 274-3141, ext. 32177.
  • New DOH Medical Marijuana Registration Card – This month, the Department of Health began issuing its new medical marijuana registration card, which includes the location of the where the marijuana is grown and the name of the primary care physician. The new card is thin and wallet-sized like an insurance card making it easier for patients and caregivers to keep with them whenever they are in possession of medical marijuana. The new white card with a colored Department of Health logo will replace the long familiar Department of Public Safety “blue card.”
  • Physician Education – Physician outreach and information sharing through planned conference calls has been ongoing to ensure healthcare providers have accurate information about the program. Physicians who are currently certifying patients for the program are emailed information about conference calls and other updates.

Beginning Jan. 28, DOH will hold public hearings for the proposed adoption of Chapter 11-160, Hawaii Administrative Rules for Medical Use of Marijuana. This proposed new chapter will include the process for DOH to consider approval of additional debilitating medical conditions for medical use of marijuana; physician requirements to participate in the program; registration of qualifying patients and primary caregivers; monitoring and corrective action; administrative procedure; and confidentiality of information. The proposed rules are posted at http://co.doh.hawaii.gov/sites/har/admrulechange/default.aspx

Public hearings are scheduled in each county as follows.

  • Jan. 28 (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) in Hilo, Hawaii at the State Office Building conference rooms A, B and C located at 75 Aupuni St.
  • Feb. 2 (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) in Honolulu, Oahu at the Diamond Head Health Center room 418 located at 3627 Kilauea Ave.
  • Feb. 3 (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) in Wailuku, Maui at the State Office Building third floor conference room located at 54 South High St.
  • Feb. 5 (10:30 a.m.-12 noon) in Lihue, Kauai at the State Office Building basement room located at 3060 Eiwa St.

Requests or questions related to the upcoming public hearings may be sent to medicalmarijuana@doh.hawaii.gov

Master Food Preserver Trainings Set for Kona, Hilo

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) presents two food preservation trainings this spring.

Ken Love and his Same Canoe Lifetime Achievement Award from the One Island Sustainable Living Center

Ken Love and his Same Canoe Lifetime Achievement Award from the One Island Sustainable Living Center

Taught by Master Food Preserver Ken Love, executive director of HTFG and the Hawaii Master Food Preserver Program, the 64-hour training session is targeted to individuals looking to expand their knowledge of safe, home food preservation—plus learn the business side of selling syrups, preserves and sauces. Learn the steps for canning fruit and vegetables, plus pickling, fermenting and more.

Participants must be able to commit to an eight-day training and volunteer at least 20 hours in a year. Graduates earn a master food preserver certificate from UH-Hilo.

Kona dates are February 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 23 and 24 at the classroom/kitchen at 81-6393 Mamalahoa Hwy. in Kealakekua. Applications are due January 28. Hilo dates are March 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 23 and 24 at the Komohana Research and Extension Center, 875 Komohana St. Applications are due February 16.

“The training is designed to teach small agribusinesses and local residents how to safely preserve delicious and attractive, value-added products from underutilized produce,” explains Love, who is certified to teach the course by the University of California Master Food Preserver program. “It’s like the old adage, ‘Waste not, want not.’”

Tuition is $100. Apply by contacting CCECS 808-974-7664 or ccecs@hawaii.edu.

The classes are made possible by a grant from the Hawaii Department of Labor Workforce Development Division.

Nominations Sought For The Hawaii Big Tree Competition

The holiday season marks the beginning of the annual Hawaii Big Tree Competition.  Sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife and American Forests, the program focuses attention on the largest trees in each species, as a way to raise awareness about the importance of healthy trees and forests.

In 2014, a coconut palm in Hawaii Kai, Coco, was crowned the national Big Tree winner and the National Ultimate Big Tree after several weeks of online voting.

In 2014, a coconut palm in Hawaii Kai, Coco, was crowned the national Big Tree winner and the National Ultimate Big Tree after several weeks of online voting.

The Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition does not have a champion for the following Hawaiian species that are eligible for the National Big Tree Program.  Therefore, any tree nominated from the following list will likely be crowned a champion.

Big Tree

The 10 current Hawai‘i champions are listed below. To replace a current champion, the challenger tree must have more total points.  Total Points = Trunk Circumference (inches) + Height (feet) + ¼ Average Crown Spread (feet).

  • Niu (Cocos nucifera) in Hawea Heiau Complex and Keawawa Wetland, O‘ahu
    (Circumference: 13.5) (Height: 112) (Crown Spread: 16.42)
  • Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) in Waikoloa Dry Forest, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 186.96) (Height: 40) (Crown Spread: 43.50)
  • Olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island  (Circumference: 204.52) (Height: 32) (Crown Spread: 42.58)
  • Pāpalakēpau (Pisonia brunoniana) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 52.46) (Height: 28) (Crown Spread: 15.25)
  • Māmane (Sophora chrysophylla) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 165) (Height: 24) (Crown Spread: 25.5)
  • Kōlea lau nui (Myrsine lessertiana) in Pu‘u wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve, Hawai‘i Island (Circumference: 85.14) (Height: 32) (Crown Spread: 25.5)
  • Koa (Acacia koa) in Kona Hema Preserve, South Kona, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 343) (Height: 115) (Crown Spread: 93)
  • Hau (Hibiscus tiliaceus) in Hulihe‘e Palace, Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 110) (Height: 20) (Crown Spread: 25)
  • A‘ali‘i (Dodonaea viscosa) in Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 23) (Height: 17) (Crown Spread: 16)
  • Mānele (Sophora chrysophylla) in Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i Island
    (Circumference: 30) (Height: 73) (Crown Spread: 57)

To nominate a tree, contact Hawai‘i Big Tree coordinator Kylee Ah Choy at (808) 587-0164 and provide the tree height, trunk circumference, and average crown spread.  Also, please know your tree’s specific location (GPS coordinates are appreciated).

Big Tree Madness 1 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

For more on the Hawaii Big Tree Program: dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/info/big-tree/
For more on the National Big Tree Program: www.americanforests.org/bigtrees/bigtrees-search/

HELCO Cancels Hilo Arbor Day Tree Giveaway Due to Unavailability of Plants

Hawaii Electric Light regrets to inform the community that the Arbor Day Tree Giveaway scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8, at its office in Hilo has been postponed due to the unavailability of plants.

My son assisting last year at Amy Greenwell's.

My son assisting last year at Amy Greenwell’s.

In West Hawai‘i, the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook will hold a three-day Arbor Day Celebration from Nov. 7-9. A limited number of trees will be distributed across the three days from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. while supplies last.

The company apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

New USGS Maps Released – Where the Lava Flow is Now

This small-scale map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone on September 12, 2014.

The area of the flow on September 10, 2014, at 2:45 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 12 at 12:30 PM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 14.9 km (9.3 miles; straight-line distance) from the vent and 0.17 km (0.1 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 17.1 km (10.6 miles). The flow was advancing toward the northeast. The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). For an explanation of down-slope path calculations, see: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. Down-slope path analysis is based on the assumption that the digital elevation model (DEM) perfectly represents the earth’s surface. But, DEMs are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map indicate approximate flow path directions. The purple arrow shows a short term projection of flow direction based on the flow behavior over the past several days and the local topography. (see large map)

Large-scale map of Kīlauea’s ERZ flow field

This large-scale map shows the distal part of the June 27th flow in relation to nearby Puna communities. The black dots mark the flow front on specific dates. The latitude and longitude of the flow front on September 12 was 19.46388/-154.98343 (Decimal degrees; WGS84). The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Down-slope path analysis is based on the assumption that the digital elevation model (DEM) perfectly represents the earth’s surface. But, DEMs are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map indicate approximate flow path directions. The purple arrow shows a short term projection of flow direction based on the flow behavior over the past several days and the local topography. (see large map)

Shaded-relief map of East Rift Zone near flow front

This shaded-relief map, with digital surface data provided by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, shows some of the cracks, faults, and grabens (down-dropped blocks between adjacent faults; http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/glossary/?term=graben) that are present in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, and which have partly controlled the June 27th flow’s advance direction. The June 27th flow as of September 10, 2014, at 2:45 PM is shown in pink, while flow advance since then (as of ~12:30 PM on September 12) is shown in red. At the time of the mapping, the flow was advancing toward the northeast. (see large map)

Albizia Tree Presentation at UH Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Faculty Congress and the College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) invite the public to a free presentation on the invasive Albizia trees. The presentation will be held on Wednesday, September 17, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 100.

Workers clear Albizia trees from a road following Hurricane Iselle.

Workers clear Albizia trees from a road following Hurricane Iselle.

“The fast-growing Albizia trees have had a serious ecological impact on native forests,” said Springer Kaye, Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) Manager. “They also pose a real and immediate threat to the public’s safety and welfare as we saw in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle.”

Kaye and Dr. Flint Hughes, research ecologist, of the USDA Forest Service Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry, will discuss community-based efforts involving State and local agencies, lawmakers, Hawai’i Electric Light Company, and other stakeholders to remove hazardous trees, and deploy field staff and volunteers to manage non-hazardous trees. Other topics of discussion include lessons learned and future steps to achieve long-term hazard mitigation.

Parking on the UH Hilo campus is free after 4 p.m. A map of the campus can be found online at http://hilo.hawaii.edu/uhh/maps.php.

For more information, call 974-7664 or email ccecs@hawaii.edu. For disability accommodations, call (808) 974-7664 (V) or (808) 932-7002 (TTY).

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force Announces Updated Report on Policies and Procdures

UDATE: The meeting will not be open for public testimony.

The Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force has announced the release of a newly updated report on the policies and procedures for access, distribution, security, and other relevant issues related to the medical use of marijuana in Hawaii. The report was produced by the Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) and updates findings released in an earlier report first published in August 2009.

Medical Marijuana

In 2000, the Hawaii State Legislature passed a law enabling the use of medical marijuana by qualified individuals. However, the law did not provide these individuals with a legal method of obtaining marijuana—making it illegal for patients and caregivers to get medical marijuana for legitimate use.

This year the Legislature passed HCR48, establishing under the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Public Policy Center, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force to develop recommendations to establish a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana.

The updated LRB report highlights glaring uncertainties within Hawaii’s medical marijuana program in regards to the access and transportation of medical marijuana. The program currently only allows qualifying patients to use medical marijuana, but does not provide them with any method to obtain it other than for them to grow a limited amount on their own. However, the sale of marijuana—including seeds for cultivation—remains illegal under state law.  As a result qualifying patients who suffer from cancer or other debilitating diseases are unable to legally acquire medical marijuana to find relief and improve the quality of their lives.

Additionally, it is uncertain whether or to what extent a qualifying patient or caregiver may transport medical marijuana anywhere outside the home on the same island, or island to island, without violating state drug enforcement laws.

“It has been over a decade since Hawaii took the historic step of legalizing medical marijuana to better the lives our residents. But as we have learned throughout the years and once again validated by the report, issues still exist with the program that need to be addressed,” said House Health Chair Della Au Belatti. “The task force is working towards improving our medical cannabis system with the goal of facilitating access for patients through a legal dispensary system or other means.”

The Dispensary System Task Force will submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation to the 2015 Legislature.

On Tuesday, September 9, from 9:00 – 11:00 am at the Hawaii State Capitol, Room 325, the Dispensary Task Force will be briefed by the Legislative Reference Bureau on its 2014 report.

Public hearings on Hawaii Island and Oahu have been scheduled by the Task Force to obtain public testimony on issues and concerns regarding dispensaries in Hawaii and any input on the updated Legislative Reference Bureau report.  These public hearings are scheduled as follows:

  • Hawaii Island (Hilo): Wednesday, September 10th at 5:00 pm. Aupuni Center.
  • Oahu: Wednesday, September 24th at 5:00 pm. Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium.

The updated report and more information on the Dispensary Task Force is available online at http://www.publicpolicycenter.hawaii.edu/projects-programs/hcr48.html

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Opens One Hour Earlier

Fresh and nutritious Hawai’i Island food and the people who produce it are the stars of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Friday, Sept. 26 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

This year’s annual event that promotes agricultural sustainability is 5-8 p.m. to offer an extra hour for grazing among tasty culinary stations, food producer booths and agricultural-themed displays. The fun sprawls both inside the Hilton’s recently renovated ballroom and outside on the scenic Lagoon Lanai.

Pre-sale tickets are available at a dozen islandwide locations and online for $45 through September 25; they are $60 on event day. Details: www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

New this year, seven of the 30 culinary stations will showcase a chef using local products from a specific rancher and farmer out on the Lagoon Lanai. These stations will identify those who contributed to the dish for attendees, as well as the meat cut used. In addition, participating ranchers and farmers are also invited to talk story with attendees at each station. Event chair Jeri Moniz says the purpose for the pairings “is to foster more communication between food producers and chefs,” one of the event’s goals.

Doesn't this look good?

Doesn’t this look good?

Each Taste chef is assigned to prepare a whopping 100 pounds of a specific cut of pasture-raised beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar—and the result is a festive adventure of tasting everything from tongue to tail. All the beef cuts are utilized so chefs and attendees can get acquainted with not-so-familiar cuts while having fun. The pasture-raised beef is sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones.

In addition to “grazing” on prepared top round or Rocky Mountain Oysters—aka bull’s testicles—attendees can taste samples at local food product booths and view compelling educational displays on sustainability and agriculture.

Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual Pasture-Raised Beef Cooking 101 culinary demonstration. This year’s guest presenter is Peter Abarcar Jr, executive chef of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, who is preparing Chinese Style Oxtail with Radish and Salt Fish Fried Rice plus Grass-Fed Chuck Steak Pipikaula with “Killachurri” Sauce The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10; tix available online or at the door.

Also open to the public is a free 1:30 p.m. seminar, “A Primer on Local Beef” by local livestock extension agent and long-time researcher, Glen Fukumoto. “A Primer on Local Beef” will delve into the history of the beef industry in Hawai‘i and look at the product’s supply and demand issues. Fukumoto will also examine meat quality for the grass-finished market through the years, based on his 30 years of research.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of fresh, local cuisine can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, September 26, 2014. The kama’aina special includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i State ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel accommodations start at $149 per room, per night, based on availability. To book the exclusive package, (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

A free parking and shuttle service to Taste is available from ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay noon-10 p.m. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today, KBIG, KAPA and Native FM. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.

Senator Schatz Announces USDA Designation of Hawaii County as Natural Disaster Area

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Hawai‘i County as a primary natural disaster area due to damages and losses caused by wind, rain, and flooding from Tropical Storm Iselle. After a review of the Hawai‘i County Loss Assessment Reports, the USDA determined that there were sufficient agricultural production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation.

People waited for hours just for basic supplies during Iselle.

People waited for hours just for basic supplies during Iselle.

“Many farmers in Puna are still recovering after suffering devastating crop loss due to Tropical Storm Iselle and they need our help,” Senator Schatz said. “I thank USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack for reviewing the Loss Assessment Reports and for issuing a Secretarial natural disaster designation for Hawai‘i County. Support from the USDA will help ensure that our farmers in Hawai‘i County will receive the assistance they need.”

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm, and the security and repayment ability of the operator.  So far, FSA has received over 100 inquiries for assistance from producers in Hawai‘i County.