Hawaii Poll Shows Majority Supports Marijuana Legalization

A poll released Thursday shows 57% of Hawaiians favor the idea of taxing and regulating marijuana. That's a startling 20% increase in support in just seven years — a 2005 poll by the same group asking the same question had only 37% support.

The QMark Research poll was conducted for the Drug Policy Action Group and consisted of telephone interviews with 603 respondents. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.07%.

The poll showed 45% strongly supporting tax and regulate, with another 12% saying they had "somewhat strong support." Only 40% opposed legalization, a figure that has declined by 20 points since the 2005 poll.

The poll also found strong support for decriminalization (58%), for medical marijuana dispensaries (78%), and for the medical marijuana law passed by the legislature in 2000 (81%). The law allows patients to use marijuana, but makes no provision for them to obtain it except by growing it.

The poll numbers were released at a press conference conducted by the Drug Policy Action Group, a sister organization to the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and the ACLU of Hawaii. Also introduced at the press conference was a study (available at the poll link above) by University of Hawaii economist David Nixon on the economic impact of marijuana law enforcement in the state.

Nixon found that Hawaii spends $9 million a year on marijuana law enforcement and foregoes $11 million a year in potential revenues under legalization. He also found that marijuana arrests are increasing in the state, with possession arrests up nearly 50% since 2004 and distribution arrests almost doubling.

"From the survey findings, it's clear that Hawaii voters are open to reconsidering local marijuana laws," said the Action Group's Pam Lichty. "The data in both of these reports will help our communities craft more effective, less costly approaches for the future. The Drug Policy Action Group, the ACLU of Hawaii, and our allies will advocate for the policy reforms that people in Hawaii want."

"In Hawaii as across the nation, arrests for marijuana possession are one of the most common ways that individuals get caught up in the criminal justice system, at great social and economic cost," said Vanessa Chong, executive director of the ACLU of Hawaii. "These studies provide important, updated facts for the Hawaii community as we consider new directions."

– Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.



  1. Anonymouse on

    Not to sound too harsh, but do we care what goes on in Hawaii? When was the last time anything significant happened in Hawaii?

    Hawaii legalizes medical cannabis, still has yet to provide safe access for patients. Last attempt to change legislation for safe access dies without much opposition in 2011. Hawaii is not progressive, they are stagnant.

    By the way, lived and worked on Oahu for a few years…

  2. Anonymouse on

    I agree – it’s boring over there… Isolated, lacks diversity of thought, lacks diversity of character, SOS… Hawaiian cannabis is no better than BC or Mendo bud.

    Most people work two jobs and a lot of people live with family members to cut living expenses. Too much effort for what it is worth, glad to be back on the major continents.

  3. Loki on

    what’s wrong wit “foreign countries” you sound like the typical Xenophobic American who doesn’t think we can learn a lot from these foreign countries. You obviously have never been to a foreign country nor do you sound like a person that would want to. Traveling does wonders for ignorance.

    get a passport. The best $100 you’ll spend

  4. Loki on

    what else is there to do in Hawaii. once you go through the beaches and malls it’s pretty boring and lacks a lot of things we mainlanders take for granted, like finding a job and making a living

  5. Mrs. Ratsrectum on

    The sooner the 3rd U.S. state legalizes the better. It will continue to hammer home the message to prohibitionists everywhere, but especially Washington, D.C., that despite regrouping and forming new anti-cannabis groups, such as that SAM that has a Kennedy at the helm, there is nothing they can do to turn the tide back in the favor of prohibitionists.

    All the prohibitionists can do is stall and prolong the current illegal status of cannabis at the federal level.

    Unfortunately, the longer they stall the more millions of dollars they will waste–and I mean in the U.S. alone. And, since the U.S. is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, it will continue to throw its weight around to prevent other countries from legalizing, too. That, in turn, forces other countries to continue wasting money on enforcing cannabis prohibition, just to stay in the good graces of D.C.

    The sooner the better!

    Hawaii next!

  6. gutrod on

    Hawaiian pot was in big demand back in the 70’s when I was in my youth. Most of the good stuff was imported into Canada back in those days. Fortunately good Canadian grown weed has come a long ways in the past few decades. Although illegal it is readily available and much consumed. I couldn’t imagine spending thousands of dollars on a vacation to Hawaii and not having access to the sweet leaf for pure pleasure. I hope that they and many other states go the way of Washington and Oregon. The times, they are changing. Not in Canada though under the current anti pot dictatorship of the Harper regime who handed over our prince of pot Marc Emery to the evil American drug Nazi’s in the so called land of the free. He will be free soon enough to carry on the fight for freedom in Canada and worldwide.

  7. Anonymous UK on

    Hawaii has the climate and a history of growing the best marijuana. People already like to vacation there – add legal marijuana to this and Amsterdam may as well close down. Weed pass or no weed pass – cannabis is NOT legal in the Netherlands, it rains all the time and it is a foreign country. So instead we have skiing and outdoor pursuits in Denver or sun and sea in Hawaii – oh yes and LEGAL pot as well. Where would you go ?