Hawaii House Finance Committee Kills Senate-Approved Bill to Legalize Marijuana

Hawaii legislation to legalize recreational marijuana that easily passed the state’s full Senate and three House committees is now officially dead for the year.

Senate Bill 3335 was passed through the Senate last month by a vote of 19 to 6. It then was approved through three House committees, with the full House voting 25 to 23 to pass it through its second reading, sending it to the Finance Committee. Passage through that committee and a third House reading would have sent the bill to a supportive Governor Josh Green.

Now, Representative Kyle Yamashita (D), Chair of the House Finance Committee, says the committee will not consider SB 3335 prior to a Thursday deadline. This effectively kills the measure for this legislative session.

If the measure would have been passed into law, those 21 and older would have been allowed to purchase and possess recreational marijuana. It would have lead to the creation of the Hawaii Cannabis Authority and Cannabis Control Board, established within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, 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.

Separate legislation to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, which has also been passed through the full Senate, remains alive.

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

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