Hawaii Nears Legalization of Recreational Cannabis and Expungement of Cannabis Possession Records

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New developments are on the horizon for recreational cannabis in the Aloha State.

Legal recreational cannabis in Hawaii is one step closer to becoming a reality. On March 5th, 2024, Senate Bill 3335 was sent to the House of Representatives after being passed by the Senate by a vote of 19-6 (1). The bill would establish a regulated recreational market in the state for adults 21 years old and older, allow home cultivation of up to six plants, and allow possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, all starting in 2026 (1).

The bill would also establish the Hawaii Hemp and Cannabis Authority, which would distribute cannabis business licenses and also create an oversight committee, the Cannabis Control Board (1).

Details of some aspects of the bill, such as a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) limit for drivers and possession of loose cannabis inside a vehicle, are being challenged by advocates (1).


In addition to the legalization of recreational cannabis, expungement of criminal records of small amounts of cannabis possession could also become a reality. On March 5th, 2024, House Bill 1595 passed the House, and aims to establish a state-initiated process of expunging possession of less than three grams of cannabis (2). The process would begin in 2026 and over 36,000 individuals would reportedly be affected (1).

“The state’s existing expungement law places the burden on those with previous convictions to petition the courts for legal relief,” testified Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, an organization advocating for reforming cannabis laws (3). “But, as we have learned from other states’ experiences, many people are either unaware of their own criminal record status or are unable to navigate the legal process on their own. Some cannot afford to pay the fees necessary to hire legal representation to assist them in this process. Others remain unaware that such a process exists at all. As a result, the law is underutilized by those who could otherwise benefit from it.”

The next stop for HB 1595 is the Senate (1).

Track the recent progress of recreational cannabis legalization in Hawaii, from an initial draft of a bill to its passage through the Senate Health and Human Services and Judiciary Joint Committee.


  1. Herrington, A. J. Hawaii Senate passes Recreational Marijuana Legalization bill (accessed Mar 6, 2024).
  2. Leonard, M. Thousands in Hawaii with arrest records for marijuana possession could have them expunged (accessed Mar 6, 2024).
  3. Hawaii lawmakers advance legalization and expungement bills (accessed Mar 6, 2024).