Letter for Saturday, May 18, 2019

We must move away from tourist-based economy

I would like to urge Gov. Ige to sign SB1353 and establish a permanent industrial hemp program. Not only is it good at replenishing the soil, but our climate allows for three crops per year, giving us a clear advantage in the marketplace.

With the proper seed money (hello Pierre and Mark, etc.) and enough acreage (Grove Farm, A&B, G&R, etc. come to mind), we could have a marketable product in a relatively short time.

Once the crop is established we could build processing plants for various products and a small ag/business economy will emerge.

We have got to move away from a tourist-based economy. We are only one hurricane away from all of us becoming unemployed. With the weather patterns no longer patterns, it is not if but when that happens.

With an agriculture-based economy, we can use the tourism dollars to add to our county coffers, and enable us to actually afford some much-needed infrastructure upgrades.

Eventually we will be able to phase out the chemical companies posing as corn farmers, as their lands are needed for more hemp.

I would like to add that some of our “honored guests” that have written to this newspaper have been less than “honorable,” in my opinion. With a healthy economy we can ask these “honored guests” to respect our island and our attempts to preserve it for everyone or go elsewhere.

Allan B White, Hanapepe

  1. kauaiboy May 18, 2019 5:58 am Reply


    I have been preaching the same mantra for years. We are missing the boat. Hemp production and added value product enhancement is the future for a cleaner, less-stressful Kauai.

    There are so many potential added-value products that could be made locally and marketed as “Made in Kauai” that local residents could enjoy a better standard of living, more free time, and a pride of those who contribute to a better, more sustainable future.

    Listen up, politicians and investors. This represents the best future for Kauai and for our residents.

  2. ruthann jones May 18, 2019 6:26 am Reply

    ;eventually to phase out the chemical companies’???? Eventually?’ Eventually’, your keiki will be damaged by this ridiculousness! Less damaged by tourists’ dollars!

  3. rk669 May 18, 2019 6:36 am Reply

    Put down the Pipe,come back Down to the Planet!
    Moron Alert?

  4. Rick Emens May 18, 2019 7:04 am Reply

    I’ve been preaching this since the first sugar plantations began closing in the ‘80’s and the fields went fallow. The irrigation ditches are in place and water wastefully runs into the ocean. With hemp it’s possible to have 2 harvests a year and it doesn’t require the use of pesticides. Processing plants could be built to export raw product to locations converting it into usable products. Those of us here for hurricanes Ewa and Iniki saw what happened to the economy and the length of time it took for tourists to return. With hemp production, the economic hit would be short term. Steve Case owns thousands of acres. Why aren’t we talking to him, the Robinsons and others? Live by the tourist, die by the tourist is not a feasible economic plan.

  5. Ellen C Green May 18, 2019 8:06 am Reply

    As much as growing hemp may make sense, it would never come close to replacing tourism. The above arguments won’t help at all. Bad weather will ruin the crop more than discourage visitors. And it certainly would never employ as many people. It wouldn’t even employ as many as sugar cane once did.

  6. tunataxi May 18, 2019 8:22 am Reply

    Seriously ?? You think agriculture will employ enough of the population to make a difference?? I’m pretty sure you have never worked on a farm. I have and I assure you it will never replace tourism … and it is extremely affected by hurricanes.

  7. roger May 18, 2019 8:58 am Reply


  8. Carrie eckert May 19, 2019 3:58 am Reply

    Alan, it is not Your lsland to be calling them your honored Guests. Just because you live there doesn’t mean you own it. We are free to go anywhere in our country because we live in a democratic country and we also allow others to enjoy our country. Many people on Kauai are doing a great job of making visitors and inhabitants not welcome. As an ex resident, who just so happens to live next door to another long time owner and resident of Kauai. We all felt the NO Aloha of the local people in Kauai. Keep it up, and Kauai will no longer have your honored guests spending money to keep your island afloat. And perhaps you don’t read much outside of your daily newspaper. But farmers aren’t making money. You need real cheap labor and land which is why the Hawaiian islands no longer have pineapple and sugar cane plantations. Plus Mother Nature, pests and commodity prices affect the yearly problems of farming. It is a very hard business to be in. The Hawaiian islands depends on tourism. Period.

  9. Rick Emens May 19, 2019 9:06 am Reply

    I can’t believe the short sighted responses to both mine and a few other proponents of growing hemp’s comments. As I stated, if you live by the tourist you die by the tourist. No one is talking about doing away with or limiting tourism, just another alternative to a total reliance on a tourist based economy. Certainly the jobs will be a limited number, just as at the coffee plantation. They offer tours of the fields and processing, so why not hemp based tours too. Added jobs would come from affiliated fields, such as the processing facility, transporting the exportable products, marketing, etc., etc. As for pests, it’s a weed, so what pests do you know of that could decimate it? Right now CBD is a popular product derived from the plant, so there’s another potential exportable product. They make cloth, fuel and countless other products from this amazing plant, so why would anyone be opposed to using our thousands of fallow acres for something productive. I’d rather see a field of green hemp plants than miles of barren red dirt. Wake up and smell the hemp!

  10. Kauaidoug May 20, 2019 8:05 am Reply

    We never will replace tourism but diversification is essential to sustainability. All those cane fields are good for is the guinea grass that has replaced the cane and spreads it’s seeds all over.

  11. Imua44 May 20, 2019 7:19 pm Reply

    Tourism has the smallest environmental footprint of any large scale industry. By far.
    The hip hemp acolytes have never worked an industrial farm. Low pay. Dust. Big fat noisy machines.
    Sounds sexy…but no can.
    Plus..many areas can grow industrial hemp, without the 20 buck per hour and 15 in bennies the hotel worker received

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.