By Maui Now Staff
Maui is slated to become the first island in the state with a home built using industrial hemp.
Architect George Rixey opened the construction site for the new home at 101 North Kīhei on Friday, Jan. 30.
At the opening, state Rep. Cynthia Thielen presented current progress of a state bill that will allow hemp as an agricultural crop in Hawai‘i.
Denise Key, a local expert and avid supporter of industrial hemp and the new bill, was also on-site to share the uses and benefits of the product.
According to proponents, hemp is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional building materials, and has a negative carbon footprint due to its tendency to absorb carbon dioxide during manufacturing.
Rixey will be installing Hempcrete in the unique new home, an insulation material said to have strong insulation properties, and to be water, mold, and fire resistant.
The Hawai‘i State Legislature has already approved experimental cultivation of hemp, and is now considering legalization of the plant for industrial uses across the islands.
Hemp could be a viable cash crop for Maui farmers, creating marketable products such as hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and Hempcrete building material. In addition to being a cash crop, hemp could also be used by farmers as a rotational crop to condition soil by removing pesticides and toxins.