Hawaii Senate Approves Recreational Marijuana Bill, Uncertainty Looms in House

Hawaii Senate Approves Recreational Marijuana Bill, Uncertainty Looms in House

The effort to legalize adult recreational marijuana use survived in the Senate but, once again, faces an uncertain fate in the House.

Bills to legalize some form of gambling in Hawaii and recreational marijuana are introduced routinely, but have ultimately failed in previous years.

Last year the Senate approved legalizing recreational marijuana only to see the effort die after moving over at the midway point to the House, where Rep. David Tarnas, who chairs the committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, declined to even hold a hearing. Senate Bill 66 was vague and incomplete and left the authority to regulate recreational marijuana up to “an unelected board,” he said Wednesday.

This session, however, the latest version of SB 3335, Tarnas said, provides specifics and other details that he wants to review and discuss “to try to address concerns. It’s a complicated bill and we have a lot of skeptical members so I have a lot to answer for. The public wants the Legislature to take this seriously.”

SB 3335 would create the Hawaii Cannabis Authority and Cannabis Control Board within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs “to regulate all aspects of the cannabis plant,” including the legalization of adult recreational use.

It was approved by the 25-member Senate on Tuesday with 19 senators voting aye — including six with reservations — and six no votes.

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Region: Hawaii

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