Hawaii One Step Closer To Ending Pot Prohibition: Senate Advances Legalization & 2 Psychedelics Bills

March 9, 2023 · Benzinga

Hawaii Senate voted Tuesday in favor (22-3) of SB 669, a cannabis legalization bill sponsored by state senate Democrats Stanley Chang, Jarrett Keohokalole, Angus McKelvey and Joy San Buenaventura. The legislation will now proceed to the House for consideration and possible amendments.

“For years, advocates have been working to pass legislation to sensibly legalize cannabis in Hawaii. Now that this bill has advanced out of the Senate, Hawaii is one step closer to becoming the next state to end cannabis prohibition,” said Hawaii resident DeVaughn Ward, senior legislative counsel at the Marijuana Policy Project.

The Senate’s approval of the bill comes about a month after the Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association (HICIA) revealed that the vast majority of Hawaiians back cannabis legalization. According to poll results published on March 31, as many as 86% of Hawaiians think that marijuana should be legal.

Recreational cannabis reform had even more support: 45% while medical use-only garnered 41%.

If the bill becomes law, it would allow for the possession of 30 grams of marijuana for personal, use, lower penalties for unlicensed cultivation and sales, allow adults to cultivate no more than six plants within their residence and expunge records for possession and gifting of cannabis of 30 grams.

Additionally, the bill would establish a Hawaii Cannabis Authority and require medical licensees to present a medical preservation plan before they are allowed to convert to dual-use businesses. You can check out a summary of the latest version of SB 669 here.

“Revenue that is being generated from this is going to the black market and organized crime and other places where it could be going into our communities, our schools, and supporting public programs and projects,” said Sen. Mckelvey, reported KITV.

Not all lawmakers are pleased with the Senate’s advancement of the bill. Some say they’re concerned about high THC levels in cannabis and its effects on health and about possible addiction problems.

“We’re making more stringent, our drunk driving laws and controlling vaping, how does decriminalizing cannabis for personal use fit in for these values,” said state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki (D). 

Yes To Psychedelics Research Too

Additionally, the state Senate also advanced two psychedelics bills on Tuesday, reported Marijuana Moment.

Proposal SB 1454, sponsored by Democratic Senator Ron Kouchi would create a state working group within the Department of Health to research the medical and therapeutic effects of psilocybin or psilocybin-based products on mental health.

A second proposal, SB 1531 would establish a Beneficial Treatments Advisory Council to review mental health treatment information and advise the Department of Health. The council would be in charge of evaluating new medicinal treatments for mental health, including psilocybin and MDMA.  (Full Story)

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