Two bills filed recently in Hawaii would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively thwarting the federal prohibition on the same.
House Bill 889 (HB889) and Senate Bill 873 (SB873) would relax marijuana laws in the state of Hawaii. HB889 was introduced on Jan. 26 by Rep. Joe Souki (D-8) while SB873 was introduced on Jan. 23 by Sen. J. Kalani English (D-7), Brickwood Galuteria (D-12), Russell Ruderman (D-2), and Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D-22).
HB889 legalizes marijuana for all adults and allows a person to "cultivate up to ten marijuana plants at any one time." In addition, it removes "all existing criminal and civil penalties that relate to the growing, sale, distribution, and possession of marijuana" from the Hawaii state code.
SB873 contains similar language to HB889, although is not as comprehensive. The bill would permit "the possession, growing, processing, or transporting of not more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants, and possession of the marijuana produced by the plants on the premises where the plants are grown shall not be subject to criminal prosecution."
While other states have decriminalized marijuana or legalized medical marijuana through their legislatures, no state legislature has had the courage to pass a full legalization bill yet. Hawaii has the opportunity to lead the way and blaze the trail toward a sane, sensible drug policy.
The passage of these bills would mark enormous steps in the right direction for cannabis rights advocates in the state of Hawaii. The top-down federal mandates that have failed for so many decades are being replaced by a more compassionate, decentralized approach that is responsive to the needs of the people.
Activists should embrace this tremendous opportunity to make it more difficult for individuals to be locked in cages for the non-violent non-crime of marijuana possession. The end of the federal drug war is on its way whether detractors like it or not. Measures such as HB889 and SB873 would help us toward that inevitable goal.
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
If you live in the state of Hawaii, contact your state legislators immediately. It is important for you to politely urge them to support and co-sponsor these important bills. That is how you can make a difference in the fight against cannabis prohibition.
If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to HB889 and SB873 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.