Building on last week’s launch of Arcadia Specialty Genomics, a new cannabis-dedicated division of the agricultural food ingredient company, Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: RKDA), has announced that it has been granted an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program (“HIHPP”) License by Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture. The license allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawaii for the purposes of agricultural and academic research. Hemp and hemp products produced under the program may be commercially sold.

With this license, Hawaii becomes the first state where Arcadia Specialty Genomics will commence its research and cultivation of hemp, planting on ten acres of recently-leased land next month. Hawaii was one of 23 states to launch a government-sanctioned hemp pilot program following the 2014 Farm Bill, which partially legalized hemp under state-based research programs. While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the agricultural cultivation of hemp nationwide, its regulation now falls under the USDA, which has not yet set national policies for the crop. The new Farm Bill also allows states to set more restrictive regulations, including banning hemp growing. 

Last week’s unveiling of Arcadia Specialty Genomics’ mapped out a research focus on the development of novel cannabis varieties possessing productivity, pest resistance and crop quality traits for license to cultivators, and as products such as hemp-derived CBD oils for the nutraceutical and food industries. The announcement of this industrial hemp license and upcoming cultivation facility in Hawaii underscores Arcadia’s commitment to rapidly transition its expertise as a leading science-driven company and genetics innovator in food crops into federal and state legal cannabis markets.

“Industrial hemp, along with all strains of cannabis, are decades behind other agricultural crops in terms of improved plant genetics. With the explosive market growth projected in the industrial hemp and derivative markets, growers will need the very best hemp strains to meet demand, minimize waste, and ensure consistent quality. As the only company working in the cannabis industry with proven track record of improving plants and commercializing food ingredients from agricultural products using non-GM techniques, we’re ideally positioned to help hemp growers and end-users benefit from better hemp strains.” said Matt Plavan, CFO of Arcadia Biosciences and president of Arcadia Specialty Genomics. “Being licensed by the State of Hawaii to participate in this highly selective program gives us an important head start and we’re moving quickly to establish our Hawaii research program immediately as we pursue expansion through licenses in other states.