Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves marijuana legalization bill

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The Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that would legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21.      

The bill, which was first introduced on January 18, 2019, would legalize the personal use, possession and sale of marijuana in a specified quantity.    Licenses would be required to operate any marijuana establishment as well as excise taxes and income taxes.

Amendments to the bill include a 15 percent tax on cannabis products and carrying less than half an ounce would be decriminalized.

If passed, the bill would take effect in February 2021.

Carl Bergquist, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, made the following statement:

“While just the first step in the legislative process, this historic development to move Hawai’i away from criminalizing to taxing-and-regulating adult-use cannabis should not be underestimated. Going forward, we will work diligently to ensure that Hawai’i’ legalization is infused with the social justice ethos of California’s adult use cannabis law and the bills being discussed currently in other state legislatures like New Jersey and New York. This means helping to clear cannabis convictions off people’s records and working so that the communities, particularly the Native Hawaiian, who have been disproportionately impacted by the unjust, current law are not excluded from a future adult use industry.”

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