Hawaii looks to legalize recreational marijuana use in the near future.
Hawaii lawmakers are currently considering up to ninety-one separate bills in order to help regulate its marijuana program, as well as a few that could potentially legalize recreational marijuana use in the Hawaiian islands. With so many proposed laws the current landscape of Hawaii’s marijuana regulations could change soon.
Sixteen years after Hawaii became the first state to legalize medical marijuana through the legislative process, the state is now less than one month away from issuing its first medical marijuana dispensary licenses, with dispensaries scheduled to be open for business this upcoming July.
Among the marijuana-related bills are proposals to create oversight panels for the state’s future dispensary industry and amend penalties pertaining to certain medical marijuana prohibitions. While other bills are focused on detailing how dispensaries and grow facilities will be allowed to operate.
Some of the more pressing issues currently being considered are whether or not to allow marijuana edibles, which make up a large part of other states revenue, and if the state will allow for the use of greenhouses to reduce cultivation expenses given the cost of electricity in Hawaii.
Under the current regulations, greenhouses and open air style growing will not be allowed for cultivating medical marijuana, however many say this will be crucial to reducing energy costs as Hawaii has some of the highest electricity costs in the nation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
A proposed bill would form a panel to look into marijuana edibles, which aren’t allowed under current rules and regulations. Opponents worry that marijuana edibles could pose a danger to children, so lawmakers want to establish a panel to study safe packaging options. Other proposals on the table explore if the use of marijuana could impair the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and look to set a limit on exactly how much marijuana a driver can safely consume before driving an automobile.
One of the bigger issues being tracked is whether or not Hawaii’s medical marijuana rules will allow patients to still grow their own marijuana, which is currently the case. A proposal introduced would prohibit patients from growing their own medical marijuana if there is a dispensary located on the island. Opponents say that this would be an unfair practice for those that can’t afford the potentially high cost of dispensaries as well as would make marijuana shortages even more detrimental. Currently each dispensary is allowed two grow facilities and are not allowed to transport medical marijuana inter-island.
In a recent development Hawaii’s House Committee has approved a proposal to study the possibility of decriminalizing all drugs for personal use in the state.
The proposal, which cleared the House Committee on Judiciary with a 7-1 vote, argues that offering treatment to people with substance abuse issues is a better strategy than locking them behind bars.
If the resolution to study recreational drug use is passed in the Senate, Hawaii’s Legislative Reference Bureau will be requested to conduct a formal study on the “feasibility and advisability of decriminalizing the illegal possession of drugs for personal use in Hawaii.”
One of the more noteworthy proposals among the bills is a measure to legalize and or decriminalize recreational marijuana use in the state of Hawaii.
Nationwide, over a dozen states are considering proposals to legalize recreational marijuana and although some lawmakers say it is not likely to happen this year, other lawmakers say decriminalizing marijuana could happen this session. Making it certainly possible that Hawaii could legalize marijuana for recreational use in the foreseeable future.