Hawaii Set to Become 25th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana is just a couple steps away from becoming law in Hawaii.

Senate Bill 3335 would legalize recreational marijuana for everyone 21 and older, including establishing a system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana retail outlets. Earlier this month the measure was given approval through the full Senate by a vote of 19 to 6. After being assed by three different committees in the House of Representatives, the measure received approval by the full House yesterday in a close 25 to 23 vote. This sends the measure to the Finance Committee.

Approval through the Finance Committee would set up one final vote in the House. If the vote remains 25 to 23, it would then be sent to Governor Josh Green for consideration. Governor Green is expected to sign the measure into law if given the opportunity.

If the bill is enacted into law, it would lead to the creation of the Hawaii Cannabis Authority and Cannabis Control Board, established within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which would be tasked with handling licensing and regulations for the legal marijuana industry. Marijuana sales would receive a 14% tax, with the tax being 4% for medical marijuana.

SB 3335 would also allow those with marijuana charges on their record to have the convictions expunged from their record.

Under current law possessing up to three grams of marijuana is decriminalized, but possessing more than three grams is a misdemeanor, and no amount is considered legal if not for medical use.

According to polling released last year, 52% of adults in Hawaii in support of legalizing marijuana, with just 31% opposed.

If SB 3335 does become law in Hawaii, it would be the 25th state to legalize recreational marijuana, representing half of the entire country.

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