Proponents of building a stronger hemp industry in Hawaii are hoping the crop will restore the island state’s deep agricultural tradition after the departure of sugar and pineapple crops left tens of thousands of acres fallow.

Since 1980, Hawaii’s total land use for agricultural production has fallen from more than 350,000 to 30,000 acres after sugar cane and pineapple production moved to cheaper locales, according to data from the University of Hawaii.

Sugar was the state’s largest crop – and even helped Hawaii achieve statehood in 1959 – but the last of the state’s sugar companies, which was in business more than 140 years, shut down operations in 2017.

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Hawaii’s agricultural economy has high hopes for hemp after sugar cane, pineapple pull out