By Jeff King
Considered a major win for anti-GMO advocates, Monday a judge ruled the GMO moratorium initiative can and will appear on the November 4 ballot in Maui County.
The ruling dissolves the temporary restraining order issued on September 5 that – briefly – gave supporters of genetically modified organisms (GMO) the chance to delay the initiative to halt GMO practices in Maui County. The group Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for Keiki and the Aina (SHAKA) garnered enough crowd-sourced support to legally add their initiative to the general election ballot. SHAKA’s stated position is that GMO practices should be terminated until the methods and chemicals used in creating GMO products can be proven safe.
GMO supporters argued that the language of the SHAKA initiative ballot measure was deceptive and misleading. That was the basis of their TRO. Monday, officially, Second Circuit Court Judge Ronda Loo disagreed. The county filed to dissolve the order, which had prevented preparing ballots. Some ballots, including ones for military members, have to be mailed this week.
SHAKA Movement representatives say they are pleased with the decision. The group gathered 19,000 signatures to put the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. A spokesman for plaintiffs Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban said they would consult with their attorney to analyze the ruling.