Hawaii News — Mayor Kenoi Signs Bill Banning GMOs

(Media release) —

Mayor Billy Kenoi today signed Bill 113. Below is the message he sent to the Hawai’i County Council:


Aloha, Chair Yoshimoto and Members:


On Nov. 19, 2013 the Hawai‘i County Council adopted Bill 113 Draft 3 adding a new article relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants, and on Nov. 21, 2013 delivered the bill to me for my consideration. After careful deliberation and discussions with members of my administration and the public, I am signing Bill 113.


Our community has a deep connection and respect for our land, and we all understand we must protect our island and preserve our precious natural resources. We are determined to do what is right for the land because this place is unlike any other in the world. With this new ordinance we are conveying that instead of global agribusiness corporations, we want to encourage and support community-based farming and ranching.


The debate over this bill has at times been divisive and hurtful, and some of our hard-working farmers who produce food for our community have been treated disrespectfully. We are determined to protect every farmer and rancher. Agriculture on Hawai‘i Island will continue to grow with county assistance, investment and support. That commitment includes initiatives such as the public-private partnership to improve and expand the Pa‘auilo Slaughterhouse to support our grass-fed beef industry, and the launch of the Kapulena Agricultural Park, the largest agricultural park in the state on 1,739 acres of county-owned land. It also includes support for innovative training programs to grow the farmers of the future, and to train veterans to engage in agriculture on Hawaiian Home Lands, and the introduction and advancement of Korean Natural Farming as a sustainable method of producing healthier crops and livestock. It includes completion of the first-in-the-state Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline Study of Hawai‘i Island to measure the island’s progress toward food self-sufficiency.


We are determined to reunite our farming community to create a stronger and more vibrant agricultural sector. It is time to end the angry rhetoric and reach out to our neighbors. Our farmers are essential to creating a wholesome and sustainable food supply on this island, and they deserve to be treated with respect and aloha. We must turn now to a meaningful, factual dialogue with one another.


With my approval of this bill, our administration will launch a year of research and data collection to investigate factual claims and to seek out new directions that farming in our community should take. This work will include an expanded database detailing the locations of both organic and conventional farms, the crops that are grown, more accurate estimates of the revenue earned from these enterprises, and the challenges our farmers face in meeting food safety and organic certification requirements. We will work with our farmers and our ranchers to carefully monitor the impacts of this bill over the next year to separate speculation and guesswork from the facts.


Today our communities expect that government will be as cautious as possible in protecting our food and water supplies. We all want to minimize impacts to the environment while also producing abundant, affordable food for local consumption. This ordinance expresses the desires and demands of our community for a safe, sustainable agricultural sector that can help feed our people while keeping our precious island productive and healthy.





William P. Kenoi


29 replies
  1. Handyman
    Handyman says:

    Aloha Big Island,

    Let us move forward to grow crops that are certain to be healthy for human consumption with no bad side effects.

    I am now looking forward to seeing all products that have any GMO, labeled as such.

    We as consumers have a right to choose what we consume. For any industry to deny us that right by not insisting that it be law, should it self, be dismantled and re-organized from the bottom up.


  2. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Thank you Kenoi.
    The precautionary principle is essential with experimental sciences.
    Except in corporate science.
    Where it is just troublesome.
    We CAN feed ourselves without risking future generations.
    The idea of thinking/acting in the interest of
    ‘seven generations’ is a wise science, a science of the earth, not a science to dominate the earth.
    Our biosphere is massively degraded and vulnerable, because of industrial ‘dominator’ science and its’ inevitable effects.
    Neighborhood farms are sprouting up everywhere, and the science of harmony with, not hostility toward, natural systems, will replace poison agriculture and a poison economic system.
    We rubba slippa folks want ‘appropriate technology’,
    and wisdom/science from the neighbors and ancestors.
    Mahalo to the Hawaii County Council and Mayor.
    See you in da water Billy.

  3. hazen
    hazen says:

    Holy Shit that was a great letter! This reminds me of when Bush signed the NW Hawaiian Islands into a protectorship, i.e. totally unexpected and awesome! Now to see if this will be enforced? That’s a big issue. Even if it only discourages new GMO investment and experimentation here and removes importation that more than enough for me!

  4. punated
    punated says:

    It was the easy way out. Sign another meaningless county ordinance, recommend another unfinanced study, everybody is happy again and the issue is totally forgotten in a month or two. Some people keep going on and on about this is a vote for Billy. Do they know he is term limited, so he is not running for mayor again? And he has the luxury of watching the 2014 elections and the wiping of memory by 2016, so that is when you will be giving him his vote.

    It’s ironic that this bill is signed with strong council approval, just when the major leaders of this anti-GMO movement have now come out and admitted they were listening to the wrong authorities which now appear to have engaged in large scale test results fraud. Article after article is being retracted. So this whole county foo-fa-rah will look even sillier in a few months.

    The human cannot enter an environment without disrupting the eco-balance. Let’s talk about toxic chemical factories. The human is a mobile toxic chemical factory, and it consumes everything around it to keep operating. The human toxic chemical factory requires living animal and vegetable lifeforms to keep the toxic chemical factory running at high load while excreting urea, ammonia, H2S, SO2, CO2, CO, cyanide, bacteria, viruses. The sheer inefficiency of the human mobile toxic chemical factory is such that it requires the deaths of thousands of other lifeforms in order to maintain its own.

    GMO has allowed for this human mobile toxic chemical plant to grow to 7 billion without the mass starvations before GMO and the population at 5 billion. Increased usage of GMO vegetables and fruits is going to allow this population to increase to 9 billion in 5 years. It could be a rapid shift to old, inefficient natural farming could result in the huge food shortages necessary to bring back the mass starvations in the millions needed to stabilize the global population.

  5. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    I can’t help it, and I apologize in advance but to Richard, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha
    and the rest of you PRO GMO Frankenfood proponents,
    Just like we have to deal with the doubled car tag/weight tax, my triple illegal road fees, people still driving and yapping away on their phones, still can’t figure out what MERGE means AND the stupid choppers buzzing houses, flying like idiots hot-doggers in a combat zone. Trying to peek into any Cost-co tent car port on your property hovering at the tree tops, eventually going to drop on someone’s house and kill some people, like what just happened in Ireland. THEN will they stop? Feels like a WAR zone, not Hawai’i.

    eh Billy? you reading follow up comments? Hint: when we call your office we don’t do so that your assistant can give us other numbers to call. Did not dial 411. Don’t need for your assistant to offer to give me Faye’s number. I got several phones books and 411. We call YOU, so YOU can call THEM and REPRESENT, US. ok?

    Mahalo, now for a ono organic off my aina GMO
    (Grow My Own) breakfast.
    a hui huo

  6. dd
    dd says:

    Ted. Be quiet now. most of the world does not agree with you. Ask the families of farmers in India who have committed suicide what they think.

  7. Robert Petricci
    Robert Petricci says:

    Mahalo Billy

    Much respect to GMO free Hawaii, BAB, and the many hundreds of residents that came out and stood up to the bio ag industry. We are not going let corporations monopolize agriculture in Hawaii county…………

    This is an example of how Hawaii island is leading the state into a more sustainable future.

    Now lets label GMO’s…..

  8. tia
    tia says:

    dd:”Ted. Be quiet now” Priceless!
    Punated Ted: “blah, blah, blah, b-a-a-a-h..b-a-a-a-h..b-a-a-a-h”

  9. tia
    tia says:

    NWatch “Just like we have to deal with the doubled car tag/weight tax, my triple illegal road fees…”

    Actually, we DON”T have to deal with any of these ‘codes/statutes’ that are written to regulate GOVMINT OFFICIALS and commerce, not People. We’ve been misled (at gun point) to believe they apply to us through word play. They don’t. Driver’s License, registration, insurance are ONLY required of govmint employees and those doing commerce (driving, motor vehicle). If you are TRAVELLING, you don’t need any of the above. This is not my opinion. They are supreme court rulings. Never pay traffic tickets. Don’t sign the tickets or any docs. Never plea. Demand a jury trial (sui juris) and know the law (NOT codes/statutes that DON”T apply to People) and watch the fiction collapse. Know who you are.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqFgUZcVDfo NO DRIVER LICENSE REQUIRED IN THE U.S!

    ((((((US Supreme court rules)))))))))))
    1. I have a right to travel freely and unencumbered ( Shapiro v. Thompson)
    2. No state may convert a secured right into a privilege. (Murdock v. Pennsylvania)
    3. AND IF THEY DO. I can ignore the license and engage in the right with impunity (Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham Alabama)
    (state law) In Missouri I went to the DMV site and looked up these words & phrases.
    1. Drivers License is for Motor Vehicle
    2. Motor Vehicle is for Commercial purpose
    3. Commercial purpose is for Any fare, fee, rare or charge
    4. passenger is for PAY as in taxi, limo, bus
    A1. You are not driving— you are traveling in a car, ( driving in commercial)
    A2. You have a guest in your car (a passenger is for pay)
    -Affidavit of Truth,and a common law ID, please refer to soveriegntactics.org!!
    – you can get arrested. But you can take the police officer to court. Once you’re released. The moment the police puts his siren on to pull you over he’s violated his job duty as “sirens are only to be used under Emergencies”. trust me they can’t throw you out of Federal Court assuming it goes that far. You’re guaranteed a winning case.
    – Statutory Laws are applicable to government employees, agents, assigns, and citizens. When I say citizen, I’m speaking of a US citizen through adhesion contracts that we are compelled to fill out and check the box that says “US citizen”. This actually, by statutory law, makes you a creature under the 14th amendment which created a new class of citizen called a US citizen… this did not exist prior to the 14th amendment
    – “A license when granting a privilege, may not, as the terms to its possession, impose conditions which require the abandonment of constitutional rights.” Frost Trucking Co. V. Railroad Commission, 271 US 583, 589 (1924); Terral v. Burke Construction Company, 257 US 529, 532 (1922).
    “…those things which are considered as inalienable rights which all citizens possess cannot be licensed since those acts are not held to be a privilege.” City of Chicago v. Collins, 51 N.E. 907, 910
    – HERE IS LEGAL CASE LAW PROOF THAT ALL CITY POLICE OFFICERS ALL COUNTY SHERIFFS AND ALL STATE PATROL HAVE NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO APPLY TERRY PRINCIPLES to a CIVIL INFRACTIONAL TRAFFIC STOP: State v. Duncan, 146 Wn.2d 166, 43 P.3d 513 (April 18, 2002); State v. Day, 161 Wn.2d 889, 168 P.3d 1265 (October 11, 2007) and Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).

    The ONLY reason a person needs a license/registration is if they are FOR HIRE and engaging in COMMERCE on public roadways for profit. Look up Title 18 USC § 31(a)(6) as well as II Am.Jur. ( 1st) Constitutional Law, Sect.329, p.1135
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbrXViHhFLQ Citations/Tickets are NOT charges!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xumcoK0GVUA&list=PLKU_-M-MePq3-dv-NyGOayEDlmFYieEvK Traffic Ticket Dismissal – How To Get Yours Dismissed

    Driver: One employed in conducting a coach, carriage, wagon or other vehicle with horses, mules or other animals, [or self powered]. Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 3rd Revision, 8th Edition, 1984 Re-print, page 940.
    Employed: Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, page 1035: The act of doing a thing and being under contract or orders to do it. U.S. v Morris, 14 Pet.(US) 464, 475; U.S. v The Catherine, 2 Paine, 721, Fed. Case No. 14,755.
    License: Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, page 1976. Authority to do some act or carry on some trade or business, in its nature lawful but prohibited by statute except with the permission of the civil authority or which would otherwise be unlawful. See for example Gibbons v Ogden, 1 U.S. 1, 71, 72, 77, 124, 131-132, 137, 139, 213
    Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, page 1974: A right given by some competent Authority to do an act, which without such author- ity would be illegal, or a tort or trespass.

  10. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Corporate snarkster ted promotes death tech.
    Her/his affect of hate represents perfectly
    his/her world view. Ick.

  11. Hawaiino
    Hawaiino says:

    Similarly to the blind men describing an elephant there are many “appendages” within the mayors message which can be interpreted in a larger context than his signing of this flawed bill. I quote;

    “With my approval of this bill, our administration will launch a year of research and data collection to investigate factual claims and to seek out new directions that farming in our community should take. This work will include an expanded database detailing the locations of both organic and conventional farms, the crops that are grown, more accurate estimates of the revenue earned from these enterprises, and the challenges our farmers face in meeting food safety and organic certification requirements. We will work with our farmers and our ranchers to carefully monitor the impacts of this bill over the next year to separate speculation and guesswork from the facts.”

    If the research does occur it will be interesting in many ways. Proponents of “self-sufficiency”, “Korean Natural Farming” and “organic farming” prepare to quantify yourselves, ’cause you’ll have to enter the real economy(i.e. Report income) to legitimize your testimonies. The mayors last sentence in this paragraph is quite telling in referring to”speculation and guesswork”
    Obviously this is the appendage I have chosen to grasp.

    My opinion is that the Mayor knows that the Legislature will be active on this issue and will likely supersede this bill within a statewide statutory framework. Also, as a lawyer, he probably presumes some measure of it’s likelihood to survive the legal challenges it is fated to attract.
    He honors the proponents by signing it while providing succor to the farmers and others who opposed 113 in his message, all the while knowing it will play out on larger stages.

    Really? Indian farmer suicides? the facts do not support your assertion. What you have had published is deceptive and dishonest. Here’s the link, following are some excerpts for general reader interest;


    “The wave of farmer suicides began in 1995, but as Abid points out, Monsanto didn’t begin selling GM cotton seeds in India until 2002.

    Like many reporters, the author of the Daily Mail article notes that more than 1000 farmers died each month during the mid-2000s, but he fails to put that number into context: farmers in India actually have lower suicide rates than the Indian population in general. According to the IFPRI, the suicide rate among farmers is around 1.5 per 100,000 people, whereas the overall suicide rate in India is much higher at 10 per 100,000 people.

    A million Indian farmers have adopted GM cotton without tragic consequences. The IFPRI report shows that India’s cotton yields have nearly doubled since GM varieties were introduced.

    Source: “Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India,” International Food Policy Research Institute

    Meanwhile, the number of farmer suicides have stayed level or may have even decreased.

    Source: “Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India,” International Food Policy Research Institute

    So although the suicide statistics, taken out of context, may be convenient for anti-GMO campaigners, the accusation is not backed up by the data. In reality, the wave of suicides is a complex problem with no single cause, Raju Das, a developmental studies professor at York University told the National Post.



    Here is an extensively detailed paper from IFPRI

  12. punated
    punated says:

    First off, the title for this post is mangled. This bill didn’t ban genetic engineering, it specifically says Crops and Plants, meaning vegetables and fruits.

    It is very noticeable that Hawaii lags the mainland by about two years in many areas, one of them being pseudo-science fads. So, we have a Hawaii county that suddenly discovered in 2013 about the “dangers” of GMO.

    This is just when almost every single anti-GMO “activist” leader is starting to apologize and recant, saying they were mislead and multiple reports retracted. This is very similar to the anti-vaccine fad from about 5 years ago, where that was seen by the psycho-schizos as a plot by Big Pharma to control and sicken large segments of the population by “force”. One of the big heroes of this anti-vaccine movement was Jenny McCarthy, her main claim to fame taking off all her clothes at the drop of a hat and didn’t mind closeups of her lady parts. That qualifies as “scientific validation”? Now, a few years on, that movement has faded away from total lack of credibility.

    I am not going to dead-head re-post entire articles like tia and Petricci. These are the headlines starting to happen, basically negating every position the anti-GMO fruit-loops are clinging on to. Even the much touted “But the Europeans are against it” is starting to fall apart, with multiple European governments now saying they revising their anti-GMO policies. At the very end, there is a very humorous link, from 2009, regarding the Hawaii county council anti-vaccine resolution.

    Time to call out the anti-GMO conspiracy theory

    Vaccine Conspiracy Theorists More Likely To See Conspiracy Everywhere

    Hawai’i Anti-GMO Activists Rely On Mainland Millionaires For ‘Grassroots’ Campaign

    French scientist Séralini threatens suit after discredited anti-GMO paper retracted

    GM controversy is over, minister claims, and the public only care about the cost of food

    Chief EU scientist backs damning report urging GMO ‘rethink’

    BIC 2009:

  13. Doc
    Doc says:

    Richard Ha, I hope you, especially, will watch the first video above.

    Look how GMO ‘farming’ practices are completely devastating the rubbah slippah folks, right now.

    Choose your associates wisely for the future of Hawai’i agriculture. If you’re lead down the wrong path, turn around and help to support a healthy community. (this goes for all elected officials, too)

    Hawai’i is still suffering from the chemical legacy of cane and it can not afford to repeat another such criminal assault.

    Thanks again, Billy.

  14. punated
    punated says:

    Ha-ha-ha, this is hilarious. It appears the GMO crop and the small local farmer that is the target of this new law is pot growers. All existing strains of cannabis are GMO and the specific type of GMO is identified in the new law, gene doubling.

    The county is now starting to work on the enforcement of this law. Basically, the pot grower identifies himself and declares the GMO-illegal grow operation with possible fines, or if prosecuted otherwise, will have the additional GMO-law breaking fines applied, to the point of property forfeiture to the county. Outdoor growing of medical marijuana now is illegal in Hawaii county. I was wondering how they would pay for enforcement, here it is. It is kind of brilliant, even if the state and the federal government made cannabis legal, growing it on Hawaii island will remain legal. Good going, dopers.

    “In all three anti-GMO bills, “gene doubling” is expressly identified as a form of genetic modification subject to the law. The most potent forms of marijuana are modified by a primitive genetic modification technique which involves soaking the seeds in colchicine—a carcinogenic derivative of crocus bulbs–until the DNA doubles (or even quadruples) which in turn doubles or quadruples the production of THC. This method produces the highest potency marijuana varieties and the seeds commonly sold by online vendors.
    In Hawaii County anti-GMO Bill 113 became effective with Mayor Billy Kenoi’s signature December 5, 2013. Its requirements are different than the law on Kauai and the bill proposed for Maui. For instance “no person shall knowingly engage in the open air cultivation, propagation, development, or testing of genetically engineered crops or plants.” This prohibits all outdoor grow-ops including those operating within medical marijuana limits.

    Indoor grow-ops on the Big Island will be subject to registration requirements or a $1000 per day fine effective March 5, 2014:

    “All persons engaged in any form of cultivation, propagation, development, or indoor testing of genetically engineered crops or plants of any kind shall register annually beginning within ninety days of the effective date of this article, and shall pay an annual registration fee of $100 per location….

    “Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be guilty of a violation, and upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to a fine of up to $ 1,000 for each separate violation. The person shall be deemed to be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day a violation of this article is committed, continued, or permitted for each location. To the extent permitted by law, the person found in violation of this article shall also be responsible for all costs of investigation and testing, as well as for court costs, including but not limited to witness fees and witness expenses.”

    For police departments and prosecutors, the challenge will be distinguishing genetically modified marijuana while in the field. Fortunately, there are simple guidelines available such as this one which comes from a respected Canadian mail order seed vendor:

    Polyploid Traits:

    Four sets of leaves at the nodes
    Stretched (doubled) flowers
    Dark green leaves
    Double bud sites
    Heavy feeder
    High water consumption
    Thick meristem
    Pistil discoloration (pink pistils under black light)
    Extreme potency
    Vigour and extra growth on first generation

    This information provides police departments with a handy way to identify suspected GMO strains of marijuana in the field, seize them and send the plant material for genetic testing to confirm the presence of illegal polyploid characteristics. Fines could also be calculated based on expert testimony about the age of the plant, racking up between $400,000 and $1,000,000 in fines for a single mature 40-day old plant (up to $40,000 fine on the Big Island) without having to conduct 40 days of surveillance.”

  15. Richard Ha
    Richard Ha says:

    Lets all take advantage of this opportunity to figure out how we are going to take care of all of us? When I was in the field with 100 other soldiers in Viet Nam, we did not ask who was right or who was wrong. it was a matter of life and death, so we put our differences aside. The unspoken rule was; “we all come back, or no one comes back”. Lets all aloha each other and try to figure out How we are going to take care of all of us.

  16. Doc
    Doc says:

    Agreed Richard, and this bill is the first step in that direction and the analogy of Viet Nam fits. This bill prevents the spread of GMO’s and massive pesticide use on our island; if only we could have had the foresight to prevent Viet Nam. The other part of that analogy between the two is, a few made big bucks off both and many were harmed.

  17. greg
    greg says:

    Thanks for the VietNam analogy Richard. My unit(129AHC) sprayed Agent Orange all over IICorps.

    We worked together and most of us made it back, only to be told by the VA for years that there weren’t any conclusive studies linking Dioxin to birth defects or Cancer.

    The VA’s finally come around after a couple of decades, but the dialog from the chemical companies is strangely familiar.

    And Richard; no shit, Mahalo for your service.

  18. tia
    tia says:

    Punated/GOP Andrew Walden crony involved in election fraud

    Please don’t dishonor us with your highly slanted propagandized Hawaii Free Press. Nothing factual nor free.

    Richard Ha: “in Viet Nam, we did not ask who was right or who was wrong”
    This is the fatal flaw when people with guns sent overseas with a free ticket to kill don’t ask “what is right? who is right? why is it OK to murder millions? what is the truth?” These are not traits of compassionate, critical thinking human beings. They are machines/robots programmed to do what their handlers want. Robots are devoid of the connection to nature/plants/animals/people. This is what toxic stuff like chemicals/GMO/flouride/vaccines/HAARP do, turn people into compliant robots.

  19. punated
    punated says:

    This bill is now a law. It bans all GMO except papaya and existing corn fields. Otherwise, all other GMO crops are banned. All existing strains of cannabis are GMO, having been GMO for 20 years. It is not exempt from this law going into effect March 2014. This law finds the grower of the GMO crop the criminal and subject to the fines and penalties.

    This law gives the county and the local police an almost fascist authorization for Anti-GMO Enforcement (AGE). In the name of public health and safety, multiple enforcement operations become possible, with search and seizure due to probable cause derived from intelligence and surveillance investigation. Verification is a simple lab DNA inspection of a sample, which is going to be readily available. This law can also now require all medical marijuana growers provide a sample for DNA analysis.

    This new bureaucratic agency within an agency created by this law will allow for a county police effort funded to excess by seizures and fines. All this starts happening March 2014. This the future the Pahoa 300 have created.

  20. Russell Ruderman
    Russell Ruderman says:

    Thank you Mayor for signing the bill!!
    Punated, you are showing your fundamental lack of understanding of GMO issue when you say “All existing strains of cannabis are GMO, having been GMO for 20 years.” That is absurd on several levels and completely untrue.
    So many folks confuse plant breeding with GMO. They are two different animals.

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