HONOLULU (KHON2) — Legal marijuana is becoming more and more common as states take it upon themselves not only to decriminalize marijuana but to make it legal and accessible.

Hawai’i is not alone in its move to make marijuana recreationally legal.

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Today, on March 2, the Hawai’i Senate announced that SB669 passed the Senate Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Ways and Means.

The bill is meant to legalize the adult use of cannabis in Hawai’i.

Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (District 24 – Kāneʻohe and Kailua) chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

During the hearing, Sen. Keohokalole chose to provide some proposals on amendments that had been integrated to cover issues that had been raised in earlier hearings.

According to the Senate, the amendments included were:

1. Language was added to establish civil penalties for unlicensed cannabis growth and distribution activities. 

2. Language was added that protects employers who seek to prohibit cannabis use amongst their employees.

3. Prohibition of advertising within 1,000 feet of any youth-centered area.

4. Proposed licensing of cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail facilities that ensure a properly regulated industry while also preventing future consolidation and monopoly control of cannabis dispensaries.

If Hawai’i’s legislature passes the bill and Gov. Josh Green signs it into law, we will be the 39th state to legalize recreational marijuana in the U.S.

“Today marks a significant step forward in the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Hawaiʻi. These amendments are reflective of the Senate’s commitment to ensuring a fair and well-regulated cannabis market that provides safe access to both adult consumers and existing medical patients,” said Sen. Keohokalole.

Ensuring that safeguards are in place are meant to protect consumers, users and dispensaries.

“If legalization of adult-use cannabis is something that is supported by the Governor, we hope his administration, which has thus far opposed every proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis, will work with us to bring this to fruition,” added Sen. Keohokalole.

A recent study performed by the Hawai’i Cannabis Industry Association found that 86% of Hawai’i residents support legalized marijuana. This spans the spectrum from medical to full recreational usage.

Marijuana has a long history in both medical and political worlds.

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It was an accepted form of medicine as well as a recreational product for centuries before President Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs campaign and President Ronald Reagan’s campaign to equate marijuana usage with more lethal forms of street drugs.