Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez has authored a bill to legalize cannabis for adult use, Hawaii News Now reports. The measure seeks to keep the state’s medical cannabis industry intact by not imposing taxes on medical-only cannabis sales, while imposing a 10% tax surcharge and 4.25% excise tax on adult-use sales.
The measure creates the Hawaii Cannabis Authority, which would regulate the cannabis industry, and oversee product testing, program enforcement, and social equity and health education programs created by the legislation.
State Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D), Consumer Protection chair, told Hawaii News Now the plan is “the best version to date.”
Prior legalization efforts in the state had faced pushback from the attorney general’s office but Lopez, who was confirmed in April, said during the confirmation process that she wanted to “create a structure that will allow the state to have legal recreational marijuana with as few problems as other states on the mainland have experienced,” according to Hawaii News Now.
Part of Lopez’s plan is to offer state grants and support to growers currently operating illegally and help them adopt a traditional retail model and deal with regulation and taxation. She called that piece “the most important thing” policymakers can do in an effort to diminish the illicit market.
The proposal could be considered by lawmakers during the upcoming session, which begins in January.
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