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Hawaii Senator: State Will Legalize Recreational Marijuana Within 5 Years

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Senator Will Espero estimates that recreational marijuana will be legal in Hawaii within 3 – 5 years. Hawaii wants more tax revenue, and legalizing recreational marijuana is one option. Senator Espero advocated for opening the first medical marijuana dispensary in the state.

The first dispensaries opened their doors earlier this month, according to Press Reader. They did, however, both have to close temporarily because they ran out of product. But both dispensaries were able to quickly restock and reopen.

Espero said, “Obviously, this is the beginning of something that’s going to be huge, not only in Hawaii, but nationally once we get recreational, which I think is going to happen down the road.”

Espero also said, Part of the reason that’s going to happen is because of our desire and need for tax revenue. Most people don’t know how expensive governing is. We need to get the money somewhere. This is the beginning of medical marijuana, and I believe it’s going to flourish.”

According to Espero, the support for recreational marijuana in Hawaii is strong.

He said, “You have the younger generation versus the older generation. Values and morals are changing.”

He also said, “The political climate will determine adult recreational use. We have now what appears to be a very hostile administration when it comes to adult use. What the federal government does or how they approach things, that’s what everybody’s sort of waiting for.”

Espero says he will continue to advocate for the use of edibles while working to expand the state’s qualifying conditions list. He wants to see depression, insomnia, anxiety and stress added as qualifying conditions as it would be a significant boost to the state’s medical marijuana program patient registry.

He said, “If you expand the ailments, in essence you are allowing access to more people.”

Another item on Espero’s list is to allow reciprocity so that anyone with a valid medical marijuana card, regardless of state, would be allowed to access their medicine while on vacation.

One testing lab has been certified for the entire states. Two dispensaries are awaiting the opening of a lab that can test oils and marijuana infused topicals.

CEO of an Oahu dispensary, Manoa Botanicals LLC, Brian Goldstein said, “I don’t see recreational coming to Hawaii in the near future. Hawaii is somewhat socially conservative – we don’t even have a lottery. It’s all conjecture right now. We certainly did not build our business model on the expectation of adult use coming anytime soon to Hawaii. Medical is a safe place to be right now with the current administration.”