Maui News

Committee to Receive Update on Maui GMO Litigation

March 11, 2015, 12:24 AM HST
* Updated March 12, 1:15 PM
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Don Guzman. Photo courtesy Office of Council Services.

Don Guzman. Photo courtesy Office of Council Services.

By Maui Now Staff

***UPDATE: The GMO litigation update originally set for Friday, March 13 in the Council Chamber has since been is canceled after a federal judge postponed a hearing on the matter.  Full details a the following direct LINK.


A status update on two cases relating to the Maui GMO initiative will be considered by the Committee of the Whole at 9 a.m. this Friday, March 13, Committee Chair Don Guzman announced.

The ordinance was proposed by initiative petition and passed by the voters during the 2014 general election.


The terms of the ordinance require a temporary moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms, or GMOs, in Maui County.


Plaintiffs Robert Ito Farm, Inc., et al., and Defendant County of Maui stipulated to an injunction against any action to effect the ordinance until March 31, according to information compiled by the Office of Council Services.

Two lawsuits are pending at the state and federal level.

  • In federal court, GMO proponents, Robert Ito Farm, Inc., Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau Federation, Maui County, Molokaʻi Chamber of Commerce and Agrigenetics, Inc., are seeking a judicial declaration that the initiative petition ordinance is invalid.A Motion for Summary Judgment, filed by Robert Ito Farm, Inc., et al., is set for a hearing on March 31 at the federal courthouse in Honolulu.
  • In the state court, GMO opponents, Alika Atay, Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Bonnie Marsh, Leiʻohu Ryder and the Shaka Movement are seeking a judicial declaration that the initiative should be enforced and implemented. The plaintiffs in the case have also intervened in the federal lawsuit.

Guzman said the committee will receive a summary of the legal proceedings to date and a clarification of questions regarding the county’s representation in two lawsuits.

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