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Molokai Hemp Operations to Begin

The new year will bring a new crop to be grown on Molokai. A company called Archipelago Ventures has announced it will begin hemp production on the island, under the local leadership of Adolph Helm, who is serving as general manager. The hemp will be grown for extraction of cannabidiol, or CBD, for its medical qualities, which is licensed in Hawaii by the state Department of Agriculture.

Adolph Helm. Photo courtesy of Archipelago Ventures

“Operations will mainly consist of the production and manufacturing of hemp,” said Helm. “Hemp is a specie of cannabis that has many beneficial uses… Within the next upcoming months, plans are in place on Molokai to grow our first small scale production field.”

The company currently has a lease for 10 acres, said Helm, and extraction and processing will also take place at a Molokai facility. Seven local residents have been hired so far, with more employment opportunities anticipated as the operation grows, according to Helm.

Archipelago Ventures is a joint venture between Legacy Ventures Hawaii and Arcadia Biosciences, Inc.

“The joint venture brings two innovated companies together integrating science technology, agriculture production and manufacturing experience to hopefully create economic opportunities for Molokai and Hawaii,” said Helm. “Navigating and executing the hemp plans will have its challenges along the way but we believe Molokai has the key ingredients such as partnership opportunities and the resources to potentially support this new industry.”

Helm said in the future, he plans to partner with local farmers to grow and produce hemp.

“With the recent downturn in agriculture production on Molokai, farming and rotating hemp with other crops can provide an alternative option that can help benefit and sustain the farming community,” he said.

Helm is no stranger to managing farm operations on Molokai.

“Adolph is a seasoned leader with more than 30 years of agricultural management experience, including significant roles in farming operations, land and water management, and community and government relations,” the company said in a statement. “Most recently, he was the Molokai R&D Site Leader for Corteva’s 400-acre seed research farm.”

Helm said in the coming months, the team will be learning more about growing hemp in Molokai’s conditions, and said they’re currently in the “developmental stage” and preparing to start planting soon.

“We recognize and appreciate Molokai’s unique qualities and specialness,” said Helm, a Molokai native and homestead farmer. “It is our intent to incorporate best management practices, respect and support towards the protection and sustainability of our valuable resources.”

More information will be provided in The Molokai Dispatch as available.

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