Hawaii House Speaker Files Marijuana Legalization Bill

Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki (D-8) Friday introduced a bill to legalize the possession of marijuana by adults and create a system of taxed and regulated legal marijuana commerce. The measure, House Bill 150, would allow people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce and grow an as yet unspecified number of plants in a secure location.

The bill passed its first reading Friday, but has yet to be sent to a committee. The 2013 legislative session begins Tuesday.

“Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol takes marijuana sales out of the hands of criminals and puts them behind the counter in legitimate businesses that will generate significant new revenue for Hawaii,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, which is working on passage of the bill. “Law enforcement resources should be focused on preventing and responding to serious crimes rather than enforcing antiquated marijuana prohibition laws.”

In addition to allowing adult possession and cultivation, the bill would also authorize the state to license marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities. Public pot smoking, driving under the influence, and use by individuals under the age of 21 would remain illegal.

The bill introduction comes on the heels of the release earlier this month of a QMark Research Poll that showed support for legalization at 57%. That poll was sponsored by the Drug Policy Action Group, a sister group of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and the ACLU of Hawaii, suggesting that local as well as national reform groups are pushing the bill.

In the wake of the legalization victories in Colorado and Washington last November, at least a half dozen states are expected to entertain legalization bills. Hawaii is first out the gate; the others are Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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



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  2. Anonymouse on

    I hope the law passes, but, I’m not going to hold my breath.

    I lived and worked in Honolulu. Hawaii is an isolated state in the middle of the Pacific. Not much happens there and most of the people want to keep it that way. Backward social construct when viewed from a mainland state of mind. In Honolulu you can find a church or mission of some kind on every street block. In order to get any cannabis reform in Hawaii (MMJ legal, but no safe access) you’ll need to challenge the conservative Pacific Islander Christian view on cannabis.

    There are a lot of followers in Hawaii, not many leaders. Opposition is usually hammered down (literally) as seen in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cF529xOOLM (cannot find original video but this will suffice).

  3. Ed Wildman on

    A PA state senator has also pre-filed a legalization bill. Its looking like New England could become the next smoker’s vacation destination 🙂

  4. Anonymous on

    yes but dutch culture is infinitely more tolerating of the very idea of marijuana use, even if it’s still technically illegal, the police have come to an understanding that coffeeshops largely contribute to the local economy and confining use to them and hotel rooms keeps it’s off the streets. summer time in holland is actually pretty nice and you still don’t have to worry about he DEA

  5. Anonymous UK on

    I wonder which it will be :
    Cold , wet Netherlands (where Marijuana is actually still illegal) or Sunny , Picturesque Hawaii ?