The Hawaii Tax Department estimates that cannabis legalization would amount to $50 million annually for state coffers, Hawaii News Now reports. But State Rep. Ryan Yamane (D), who sits on the government’s Dual Use of Cannabis Task Force, said the funds would not be enough and “difficult to use in order to establish a new program.”
Yamane indicated that $50 million annually may not be sufficient for the state to hire employees for the program, or for monitoring the new industry.
As of September 30, there were 33,725 medical cannabis patients in the state with eight licensed dispensaries. According to Tax Department data, the industry generated $2.5 million in taxes over the last fiscal year.
The Dual Use Task Force has so far held nine public meetings on the topic of adult-use legalization and is still gathering information to report back to lawmakers. Yamane said the task force wants “to dispel some of the myths and find out what is fact.”
Randy Gonce, director of the Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association, said the state is the closest it’s “ever been to legalizing cannabis” in its history.
In 2020, Hawaii decriminalized low-level cannabis possession, making possession of fewer than three grams punishable by a $130 fine. It is the smallest personal possession threshold limit enacted by any state. Previously, getting caught possessing any cannabis in Hawaii was punishable by $1,000 fines and 30 days in jail.
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