Lawmakers are pushing to legalize marijuana for private use

Outside of medical cannabis use, more than half a dozen marijuana-related bills were introduced during this legislature, including a measure to legalize recreational use.

As of Thursday’s press, no one had secured a hearing from an assigned committee. February 19th is the deadline for all bills referred to more than one committee to move to their final committee. Invoices referred to three committees must reach their second committee by February 11th.

House Bill 7 would legalize the personal use, possession and sale of marijuana in a certain amount for those 21 and over, establish a means of licensing marijuana operations, and make marijuana sales subject to excise and income taxes.

The importers included representatives from the Big Island, Jeanne Kapela (D-South Kona, Ka’u), Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona), Mark Nakashima (D-Hamakua, Hilo) and Richard Onishi (D-Hilo ). It was referred to three committees but had to hold a hearing at the time of going to press on Thursday.

The bill references other states that legalize marijuana, as well as Hawaii’s enactment of Law 273, which decriminalized possession of marijuana of three grams or less.

It also records tax revenues from other states that have legalized recreational use, including Colorado, which has raised $ 1.41 billion in revenues since 2014. A new source of funding will also be crucial to help the state after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the state’s economy, with an estimated budget deficit of $ 2.3 billion.

“A new source of income is needed for the state to achieve its strategic goals, including delivering high quality early learning and preschool programs to Hawaii’s children. Legislators also state that the cultivation and sale of marijuana has potential for economic development, higher tax revenues and a reduction in crime, ”said House Bill 7.

House Bill 238 also seeks to empower people 21 and older to own or use limited amounts of recreational marijuana and to provide a means of licensing marijuana operations. It differs in that it would allocate an unspecified percentage of general excise tax revenue from retail sales to the counties and would be subject to state income tax.

Big Island representatives Jeanne Kapela (D-South Kona, Ka’u), David Tarnas (D-North Kona / South and North Kohala) and Chris Todd (D-Hilo) were among the importers.

Senate Bill 47 would decriminalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana or one eighth of an ounce of marijuana concentrate outside of a personal residence and up to 10 ounces of marijuana or 1 ounce of marijuana concentrate within a personal residence. It would also remove the penalty for transferring up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 5 grams of marijuana concentrate to anyone age 21 and older.

Senate Bill 704 would legalize the personal use, possession, and sale of marijuana in a certain amount and would require a license to operate marijuana facilities. It also subjects marijuana farms to general excise and income taxes.

Senate Bill 705 would remove marijuana as Schedule I of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and reclassify it as a Schedule V drug. It would also increase the amount that is classified as a third-degree harmful drug promotion violation.

Senate Bill 758 would increase the minimum amount of marijuana a defendant must possess to be charged with a minor offense from 3 grams to 1 ounce. and the maximum amount of marijuana that a defendant convicted of possession of marijuana could have owned without being excluded from subsequent deletion of the record of that conviction.

Senate Bill 1010 would add time to the marijuana assessment task force to submit its report to lawmakers, and the task force would also need to consider the potential economic benefits of decriminalizing marijuana use. Big Island Senator Dru Kanuha (D-Kona, Ka’u) was one of the co-adopters of the law.