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Nearly 50% of Hawaii’s Senate Signs Bill to Legalize Marijuana

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Hawaii is inching closer toward legalizing recreational marijuana. Senate Bill 686 will have a second hearing on February 7 to further the discussion. Twelve senators have already signed onto the legislation in support.

Some 260 pages of written testimony has been received on the legislation, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. The Judiciary Chairman, Karl Rhoads, sees legalization as becoming a reality in Hawaii in 2019. Hawaii’s senate has 25 members.

If the legislation passes the Senate Judiciary Committee, it moves onto the ways and Means Committee. Senator Donovan Dela Cruz chairs this committee, and has already signed the legislation as an introducing member of the group.

A very similar bill, House Bill 708, has been introduced by the House with 9 representatives introducing it.

Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Chris Lee said, “Legalization is inevitable. The question is, how much and how quickly.”

The House expects to hold hearings in the near future.

Governor David Ige opposes recreational legalization.

The governor said, “I’m concerned about conflicting federal and state laws that allow marijuana dispensaries on each island, but prohibit the transport of marijuana between islands.”

If legalization occurs, house Bill 1581 would also likely pass. This legislation would impose a 12% tax on marijuana sales.

Many questions remain in the air, but the debate surrounding recreational legalization is definitely heating up in Hawaii.