Hawaii marijuana legalization bill passes senate committee
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Hawaii marijuana legalization bill passes senate committee

The Hawaiian Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended a bill decriminalizing marijuana on Thursday, clearing its first hurdle to becoming law.

The bill would declare, “that the legalization of marijuana for personal or recreational use is a natural, logical, and reasonable outgrowth of the current science of marijuana and [societal] attitude toward marijuana.” If passed, it would permit adults 21 and older to possess, cultivate and consume marijuana. Further, it would establish a licensing scheme for the cultivation, sale and use of small amounts, as well as implement excise and income taxes regarding sales.

The bill references the 23 states (including Washington, DC) that have currently decriminalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use and noted the economic impact that legalization would bring to the Hawaiian economy.

If passed, the bill would require the state Department of Taxation establish rules regulating the process of applying for and obtaining a license to operate a “marijuana establishment.” It restricts the fees for licenses to no more than $5,000, adjusted annually for inflation, and would not require the business to collect any personal information from customers. Additional rules would enact labeling, security, and health and safety standards, as well as restrict advertising and impose civil penalties for any violations.

The next stop for the bill is the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee before it can be move on to the House of Representatives for consideration. In the past Governor David Ige has expressed concerns over the state’s marijuana laws and their conflict with current Federal law, but his position on the current bill is unclear.