HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A ballot initiative that will impose a moratorium on the growing of genetically modified organisms in Maui County has passed.
The initiative will place a moratorium on the cultivation of GMO materials on Maui, Molokai and Lanai until they were cleared by environmental and safety studies.
Results from the state's fourth results printout, released after 11 p.m., showed 23,082 ‘Yes' votes compared to 22,005.
Opponents of the GMO initiative raised nearly $8 million to try to kill the measure.
On Wednesday morning, Monsanto Hawaii responded to the passage of the GMO moratorium with the following statement:
With more than 1,000 local employees living and working in Maui, Molokai and Oahu, we are concerned about the passage of this initiative and the impact it could have on the community and farming in Hawaii. While we understand that people of Maui County have concerns about GMOs, we are confident in the safety of our products and our practices that have been reviewed and approved by federal and state agencies.
As a longtime community member, we are proud of our operations and of our contributions to the islands. We believe this referendum is invalid and contrary to long established state and federal laws that support both the safety and lawful testing and planting of GMO plants. If effective, the referendum will have significant negative consequences for the local economy, Hawaii agriculture and our business on the island. We are committed to ongoing dialogue as we take steps to ask the court to declare that this initiative is legally flawed and cannot be enforced. Monsanto and other allied parties will be joining together in this effort.
Monsanto remains firm in our commitment to ongoing dialogue with our neighbors, and we will continue to listen to and talk with the members of our community.