The Hawaii Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed an adult-use legalization bill by a 22-3 margin. The measure still requires approval in the House.
If enacted, the legislation would legalize possession of up to 30 grams by adults, reduce penalties for unlicensed cultivation and sales, allow adults to cultivate up to six plants within their residence, and expunge records for possession.
The measure would also establish a Hawaii Cannabis Authority and require medical licensees to present a medical preservation plan before they are allowed to convert to dual-use businesses.
In 2021, a similar measure died in the lower chamber. Earlier this month, during an appearance on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii” program, House Speaker Scott Saiki (D) said he would rather the state wait on approving the reforms, preferring a working group to analyze the plan over the summer.
During his campaign, Democratic Gov. Josh Green said if elected he would sign a cannabis legalization bill were it to make it to his desk. During a debate in October 2022, Green said the tax revenues would be used “in the development and recreation” of the state’s “mental healthcare system for the good of all,” according to a Spectrum News report.
“I think that people already have moved past that culturally as a concern,” he said.
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