Adult-use cannabis tax revenues in Hawaii could reach between $34 million and $53 million annually, according to a report by the Dual Use Cannabis Task Force outlined by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The report comes as lawmakers will likely consider a bill this session to enact the reforms.
Democratic Rep. Jeanna Kapela has drafted legislation to allow adult-use sales and possession which is expected to be introduced this year.
“It is time to stop making excuses. It is time to stop playing games with the lives of Hawaii’s families who have been harmed by our state’s rabid devotion to prosecuting cannabis use.” — Kapela via the Star-Advertiser
Cannabis legalization is supported by new Gov. Josh Green (D) but legislative leaders, including House Speaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi, who are both Democrats.
“I’m not one that’s very excited about passing marijuana legislation,” Kouchi said during the Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program last month. “But I’m pragmatic if this is the direction of the caucus. The bill will go through if that’s what they see.”
In 2021, a cannabis legalization bill passed the state Senate easily – 20-5 – but never received a hearing in the House.
Nikos Leverenz, president of the Drug Policy Forum, told the Star-Advertiser that more than 1,000 arrests were made in Hawaii from 2009 to 2018 for simple cannabis possession and that Native Hawaiians are disproportionately prosecuted for drug offenses.
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