On Wednesday, Hawaii legislators voted to advance a reform that would legalize cannabis sales within the state and permit 21 and older adults to cultivate the crop at home. The approval vote comes 24 hours after a Senate commission passed a different bill to substantially increase cannabis levels that are currently decriminalized by the current federal regulation.
Last month, another senate group voted to approve both initiatives, which’ll now head to the Senate floor.
Yesterday’s vote supporting authorization emerged at a joint summit of the Ways and Means and Senate Judiciary Committees. The Judiciary Commission members unanimously voted to ascend the reform; however, two members from the Ways and Means Commission (Democratic Senators Lorraine Inouye and Sharon Moriwaki) opposed the reform.
The measure, 767 Senate Bill, would permit 21 and over adults to possess not more than an ounce of cannabis for private use. The state’s Health Department would create regulations governing retail sales and business licensing come 1st July. However, it’s still unclear when marijuana shops would open.
The bill doesn’t change Hawaii’s current medical cannabis system that enables certified patients to possess not more than four marijuana ounces. Driving under marijuana influence remains prohibited under the reform, and recruiters can continue restricting staff from ingesting or smoking cannabis.
Legislators during yesterday’s hearing didn’t discuss the policy change or take the public view, rather they moved quickly through the day’s agenda.
The president of the SJC (Senate Judiciary Committee), Senator Karl Rhoads, said during the hearing that the commission recommends ascending the authorization reform after minor amendments focused on harmonizing the transition with current regulation on issues such as criminal penalties and taxes.
Rhoads disclosed that one amendment will ban marijuana consumption in places where alcohol is prohibited while another will slightly raise the proposed cannabis threshold from 28.5 grams to 30 grams.