By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers are pushing for an industrial hemp research industry.
Senate committees will consider a bill Monday to permit privately-funded industrial hemp research.
The House Committee on Agriculture approved a measure last week allowing the state board of agriculture to establish a pilot program using industrial hemp to get rid of toxins in soil.
Sen. Will Espero, a Democrat who authored the bill, says industrial hemp has economic benefits for industries ranging from agriculture to fashion.
Law enforcement officials oppose the bill, saying it makes it more difficult to regulate marijuana.
Espero says the state used to permit industrial hemp research but allowed the law to sunset.
The Hawaii Legislature is also considering a bill to legalize marijuana. Espero says industrial hemp research is a separate issue.