Let’s face it — living in Hawaii can be different. A place where spam is on the menu for every meal and the Aloha Spirit is a way of life, Hawaii also has deep cannabis roots, intertwined with local and cultural traditions and ways of life on its many islands. Much of Hawaii is rural, with sugarcane, pineapple, macadamia nuts, avocados, bananas, guavas, papayas, corn, lettuce, potatoes, and taro comprising most of its farms. Since 2000, it has been legal to grow up to seven plants for personal consumption or patient consumption in Hawaii, and cannabis has always been a part of the landscape; Maui Waui didn’t get its name for nothing. Recently, a Hawaiian farmer used cows to protect his medical cannabis crop, stating, “We’re not going to have armed guards, we’d end up shooting ourselves.”
Cannabis & Hawaii
Medical cannabis is currently legal in Hawaii, and prescriptions can be used for cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, nausea, persistent muscle spasms, post-traumatic stress disorder, and seizures. Individuals can have up to four ounces of cannabis at any time, jointly possessed between the patient and the primary caregiver (seeds are not included). Caregivers and patients can have up to seven plants at any level of maturity, and state-licensed dispensaries are in the works. On May 5, 2016, the governor was sent a medical marijuana improvement bill (HB 2707) which he is expected to sign; included in the bill are an advisory commission which will focus on impact of MMJ on patients, effectiveness of regulations, and areas of possible expansion.
Richard Ha and His Cannabis Security Cows
Like I said, Hawaii can be a different place than the rest of America, and that’s part of its appeal to many cannabis consumers, from its beautiful, lush scenery to its daredevil sports like windsurfing, parachuting down the side of a volcano, and cliff diving. For Richard Ha, the solution of cannabis security cows just made sense. There are certain required medical cannabis grow security measures that are necessary in Hawaii – for instance, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and a license, of course. Ha is a respected and long-time farmer on Hawaii, or the Big Island, who got his start in banana farming. Ha noted that banana thieves often carried machetes in order to hack the bunches from the trees and said, “Do not confront anybody who’s ripping off bananas.” Ha’s theory is that as long as the area around his grow is clear of underbrush and foliage that might hide potential thieves, he’s not worried. The security cows essentially mow the underbrush down for him by trampling it and eating it during all their glorious bovine daily activities. Ha chose cows to literally beef up his security for this reason, and because he is friendly with several cattle ranchers in the region – he calls it a “win-win” for both of them. In order to up the fear of would-be cannabis thieves, Ha will post signs stating that the security cows are actually wild bulls, which are more intimidating and could possibly gore an intruder. Although security cows are not a usual choice here in Colorado, I wish Ha the best of luck with his organic, grassroots, and no-nonsense approach to medical cannabis security.
This post was originally published on June 26, 2016, it was updated on March 15, 2017.