Maui County Council urging Legislature to legalize, regulate, tax cannabis

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FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2019 file photo, marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, Calif. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

KAUNAKAKAI, Hawaii (KHON2) — The Maui County Council announced on Tuesday, Feb. 9, it is urging the Hawaii State Legislature to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis for responsible adult-use due to the economic and social benefits that the process would bring.

Council vice-chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez announced Resolution 21-19 was adopted by a 9-0 vote on Friday, Feb. 5, citing states like Colorado have accumulated billions of dollars in tax revenue and seen an increase in job growth from legalization. Rawlins-Fernandez said, the guidance in Resolution 21-19 extends beyond taxes and jobs.

“While governments at all levels are facing revenue shortfalls because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time is ideal for Hawaii to approve responsible, adult-use cannabis. The state and the counties would be able to redirect money from the criminal-justice system to economic and social equity.”

Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, Council Vice-Chair

Included in Resolution 21-19 is guidance on expunging all cannabis convictions and granting clemency or resentencing to anyone incarcerated on a cannabis conviction.

Rawlins-Fernandez is advising residents to contact their legislators and urge them to schedule cannabis-legalization bills for hearings and to testify in support of the bills if they are heard.

Resolution 21-19 uses research from Marijuana Policy Project, the Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Contact the council staff at or (808)-270-7838 for more information.

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