Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez is working to organize a pathway towards recreational cannabis legalization.
Hawaii is looking to add themselves to the map and become one of the next states to legalize recreational cannabis in the US. Anne Lopez, the Attorney General of Hawaii, is looking to create a path for the legalization of recreational cannabis which will help “overcome hurdles that have blocked legalization for years,” according to Hawaii News Now (1).
At this current time, medical cannabis is legal in the state of Hawaii and can only be purchased at a medical cannabis dispensary (1). With Lopez’s plan, it would help to inspire a retail cannabis industry and still help to protect medical dispensaries (1). House Judiciary Chair David Tarnas, is intrigued and supportive of Lopez’s endeavor. “The attorney general has done a really good job pulling together all of the different input and providing a comprehensive bill,” Tarnas commented (1).
Previously the Attorney General’s office has not supported recreational cannabis legalization, as seen in the last legistlative session (1). Lawmakers have encouraged Anne Lopez and her office to finally support the medicinal plant. Hawaii News Now described Lopez’s recreational cannabis legalization proposal, which is 294 pages, mentioning that it, “includes a 10% tax surcharge on top of the 4.25% excise tax on adult use marijuana, offers currently Illegal growers a path to joining the legal industry while beefing up law enforcement, and bolsters health education programs to protect young people,” (1).
According to State Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, Consumer Protection chair, he described Lopez’s proposal as, “the best version to date. And part of it is the efforts to try and address a lot of the issues that came up along the way,” (1).
“The most important thing we can do is we can bring the people who have been growing and selling marijuana illegally into the legal market,” Lopez explained (1).
Hawaii’s proposed program resembles the framework seen in Massachusetts (1). For example, in Massachusetts, the state offers a “social equity program” which provides illegal growers in the industry a support system to join a retail model that would include items such as, taxes and regulation, and lastly the state would be able to offer them grants (1).
If recreational cannabis becomes legalized, it will be regulated and overseen by the Hawaii Cannabis Authority (1).