Capitol sees renewed push to legalize marijuana in Hawaii

More and more states are decriminalizing marijuana, and now there’s another push to have Hawaii join that list.

We counted nearly a dozen measures between the state House and Senate that would in one way or another allow people to have small amounts of marijuana, and even grow marijuana plants legally.

For the past 10 years, Sen. Kalani English has introduced a measure to legalize the personal use of marijuana, but it’s never gone through.

“I don’t think people were quite ready to move it forward in the past, mainly because other states hadn’t legalized it and the social policy wasn’t established in the U.S.,” he said. “Right now more than half the states have legalized or decriminalized some form of marijuana.”

English wants to give it another shot, calling to legalize one ounce of marijuana for personal use, and taking away all criminal and civil fines for having that small amount for anyone 21 or older.

“We’re looking at it first as a social policy, and second as a source of revenue, and third because our medical marijuana dispensary laws have not been implemented. There are still a lot of people who still need to get their medicine as well,” he said.

English notes in his bill that in the first half of 2014, Colorado collected more than $18 million from its special tax on marijuana sales.

Sen. Josh Green also introduced a bill that would allow people to have one ounce or less of marijuana, but it would also create a civil penalty if the person is caught with the marijuana on school property.

“If any children get it, of course that is not acceptable,” Green said. “We will always support our law enforcement personnel to make sure that if someone was pushing marijuana toward a kid near a school, we would bust them.”

In addition to being a lawmaker, Green is also an emergency room doctor.

“I’m a physician. I work on this issue. I see alcohol and hard drugs affecting people infinitely worse than any marijuana affected anybody. I’ve never seen a marijuana overdose,” he said.

The Legislative session just started and Wednesday was the deadline to introduce bills.


Bills that relate to decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana in Hawaii:

  • HB205 – Personal Use of Marijuana; Licenses to Cultivate, Manufacture, Test, or Sell Marijuana
  • HB251 – Marijuana; County Authorization to Legalize
  • HB449 – Marijuana; Legalization; Regulation; Taxation
  • HB1358 – Marijuana; Marijuana Concentrate; Personal Use
  • SB16 – Marijuana; Possession; Decriminalization; School Zones
  • SB169 – Marijuana; Marijuana Concentrate; Personal Use
  • SB548 – Marijuana; Legalization
  • SB575 – Marijuana; Legalization; Study; LRB; Appropriation
  • SB814 – Marijuana; County Authorization to Legalize

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