ARCHIVED Skip nagivation.To Contents     To Previous Page     To Next Page     To Publications Page     To Home Page
To Home Page. National Drug Intelligence Center
Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis
June 2007


Illicit drug production in the Hawaii HIDTA region entails primarily cannabis cultivation, limited methamphetamine production, and limited crack cocaine conversion.

Cannabis is extensively cultivated in Hawaii at both outdoor and indoor locations. In fact, the state consistently ranks among the top four states for the total number of cannabis plants eradicated each year. (See Table 1.) However, despite the large number of cannabis plots eradicated each year in the state, sustained law enforcement pressure and interdiction efforts have resulted in a decrease in outdoor cannabis cultivation in Hawaii since 2001. (See Table 2.) Law enforcement reporting indicates that most outdoor cannabis cultivation occurs on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Kaua'i, and O'ahu, particularly on State Division of Land and Natural Resources lands in Hawaii and Maui Counties. Outdoor cultivation operations are conducted primarily by local Asian and Polynesian DTOs as well as some Caucasian groups, including those that have relocated to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland.

Figure 2. Marijuana eradication sites in Hawaii, 2006.

Map showing the marijuana eradication sites in Hawaii, 2006.

Table 1. Top Five States for Cannabis Plants Eradicated by Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, 2002-2006

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
California 1,267,771 California 1,181,957 California 1,214,420 California 2,011,277 California 3,877,628
Tennessee 485,819 Tennessee 679,105 Kentucky 476,803 Kentucky 510,502 Kentucky 558,756
Hawaii 435,789 Kentucky 527,775 Tennessee 416,012 Tennessee 440,362 Tennessee 483,342
Kentucky 378,036 Hawaii 392,422 Hawaii 379,644 Hawaii 255,113 Hawaii 201,100
North Carolina 112,017 New York 99,423 Washington 134,474 Washington 136,165 Oregon 194,453

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

To Top      To Contents

Table 2. Outdoor Cannabis Grow Sites Seized and Plants Eradicated in Hawaii, 2001-2006

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Plants 525,041 435,475 388,903 377,332 251,163 188,742
Grow Sites 11,934 9,865 9,662 7,945 5,096 3,974

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

Indoor cannabis cultivation in Hawaii occurs less frequently than outdoor cultivation; however, the number of indoor grow sites in the state appears to be increasing, quite likely a result of increased law enforcement pressure on outdoor growers (particularly through the use of aerial surveillance). The number of plants eradicated from indoor grow operations has increased steadily since 2001 and jumped sharply from 3,950 plants in 2005 to 12,358 plants in 2006. (See Table 3.) This sharp increase is attributable to increased law enforcement surveillance efforts, particularly at sites where aerial surveillance had detected prior outdoor cultivation operations; some indoor grow sites were located in residences or outbuildings on land formerly used for outdoor cannabis cultivation. Local Hawaiians, Caucasian independents, and Asian organizations operate most indoor grow sites in Hawaii.

Indoor Cannabis Grow Sites

Indoor cannabis cultivation sites in Hawaii range in size from a single closet to entire houses or larger buildings that are converted into sophisticated grow operations. Indoor cannabis cultivators frequently use advanced growing techniques such as plant cloning as well as automated light metering, irrigation, fertilization, and insecticides to enhance plant growth rates. The controlled environment of indoor grows also affords growers the potential for a year-round cultivation season and the ability to produce a new crop of cannabis every 90 days.

To Top      To Contents

Table 3. Number of Cannabis Plants Eradicated From Indoor Grow Sites in Hawaii,

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Plants 372 314 3,519 2,312 3,950 12,358
Grow Sites 7 3 9 13 13 49

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

Methamphetamine production occurs sporadically and currently does not pose a significant threat; the laboratories seized are typically conversion laboratories used by local distributors to convert imported powder methamphetamine into ice methamphetamine or to "clean up" ice methamphetamine that is of poor quality. Law enforcement reporting indicates that Asian, Polynesian, and local DTOs in Hawaii are responsible for most of the methamphetamine production and ice conversion in the state. Additionally, the number of methamphetamine laboratories seized in Hawaii is low and decreasing. (See Table 4.)

Table 4. Methamphetamine Laboratory Seizures in Hawaii, by County, 2002-2006

County 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Hawaii 0 0 9 0 1
Honolulu 4 4 3 7 3
Kaua'i 0 0 0 1 0
Maui 1 0 0 0 1
Total 5 4 12 8 5

Source: National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System.

Powder cocaine is converted to crack cocaine on a limited basis in the Hawaii HIDTA region. Most is converted at or near distribution sites on an as-needed basis, typically in ounce quantities, by local distributors who, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), include African American, Mexican, and Samoan traffickers.

To Top      To Contents     To Previous Page     To Next Page

To Publications Page     To Home Page

End of page.