On Tuesday, the Hawaii Senate voted 22-3 in favor of SB 669, a cannabis legalization bill sponsored by Sen. Stanley Chang (D), Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D), Sen. Angus McKelvey (D), and Sen. Joy San Buenaventura (D).
If enacted, SB 669 would legalize possession of 30 grams, reduce 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.
The bill would also 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.
SB 669 will now proceed to the House where there will be more opportunities for improvements to be made.
A recent poll found that 86% of Hawaiian residents support legalizing cannabis for adults 21 and over. To date, 21 states have passed laws to legalize cannabis for adult use, including every state along the western seaboard.
"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 DeVaughn Ward, senior legislative counsel at the Marijuana Policy Project and Hawaii resident.