HONOLULU (KHON2) — Senate Committees voted today to advance Senate Bill 375 which seeks to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis and other related products intended for responsible adult use.

The bill proposes the establishment of the Hawaii Cannabis Authority and exempts the sales of cannabis and its manufactured products for medical use from the general exercise tax.

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Key amendment points included in the bill are the requirement of authority to implement rules on licensing, fees, operations, testing and all issues concerning the dispensing, sale and taxation of adult use cannabis.

Authorities must adopt the rules by Dec. 1, 2024 and applications for licenses must begin by Jan. 31, 2025. Licenses must be issued no later than March 30, 2025.

If the bill passes, the authority will assume all jurisdiction relating to medical marijuana dispensary operations, licensing, testing and administration. It will also include appropriations for the Department of Health to implement these measures.

Additionally, it will legalize four ounces or less of cannabis possession by adults.

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“Enacting legislation to legalize adult-use marijuana in Hawaiʻi would bring about not just a triumph for individual liberties and reform of the criminal justice system, but it would also create prospects for fresh sources of income and economic advancement in the state,” said Senator Joy San Buenaventura, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

The bill is now being moved to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.