Hawaii Senators Pass Adult-Use Cannabis Bill
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Hawaii Senators Pass Adult-Use Cannabis Bill

The Hawaii Senate voted 22-3 to pass a bill for adult-use cannabis on March 7. The bill, also known as SB669SD2, would establish a framework for cultivation and manufacturing, sales, taxes, and taxes. The bill would allow residents to possess up 30 grams of cannabis and to grow up to six plants for their own use. It also decriminalizes small amounts of cannabis. The Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection is chaired by Sen. Keohokalole. There, amendments were discussed, including the establishment of penalties for unlicensed cultivation, protecting employees who want to ban cannabis use, prohibiting any cannabis business from opening in youth-related areas within 1,000 feet, and other changes to address cannabis licencing that does not allow monopolies. “Today marks a significant milestone in the legalization and use of adult-use cannabis in Hawaii. These amendments reflect the Senate’s commitment towards ensuring a fair, well-regulated cannabis market that provides safe accessibility to both existing and potential patients. “If the Governor supports legalization of adult use cannabis, we hope his government, which has so far opposed any proposal to legalize adult cannabis, will work with me to bring it to fruition.” On Jan. 11, Rep. Jeanne Kapela introduced HB-237, a separate adult-use marijuana bill. This bill would create a regulatory framework for legalization. It would also allow out-of-state cannabis patients to access medical cannabis law. It would exempt medical cannabis sales from the general excise taxes. Kapela also introduced HB-283 which would prohibit employers discriminating against current or potential employees who use medical cannabis. Neither HB-237 nor HB-238 have advanced past hearings. In a comparison of 45% to 41%, adult-use was slightly more popular that medical cannabis. If cannabis legalization is passed, the state could collect $81.7 million in taxes and $423 millions in gross revenue. In January, the Dual Use Cannabis Task Force published another report. It shared that cannabis tax revenue could range from $34 million to $53 millions. Kapela used the data from the task force report to create her bill. “We all know and Hawaii’s people understand that legalizing recreational cannabis use in Hawaii for adults is a must. Kapela stated that this year, we are on the brink of history. “We now have a roadmap to legalize recreational cannabis in our islands, following the recommendations of a taskforce devoted to addressing marijuana policy.” Other than the rapid pace of support from legislators for cannabis legalization, efforts to legalize therapeutic use of psilocybin are also popular. SB-1454, a bill to legalize therapeutic psilocybin, was introduced in January and passed unanimously in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on February 6. It establishes regulations to create a “therapeutic cannabis working group” to study the medical benefits of using psilocybin to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and end-of life psychological distress.


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