Last week, the Hawaii Legislature adjourned its legislative session. The Hawaii Senate approved a legalization bill in 2021 that carried over to 2022. Unfortunately, the House never gave it a public hearing or a vote, and several other legalization bills died without a vote.
However, there is some good news: Both chambers passed HB 2260, which makes significant changes to Hawaii’s medical cannabis program. Most notably, it allows purchases, sales, and inter-island transport between dispensaries and extends the sunset on caregiver cultivation for an unlimited number of patients until December 31, 2024. The extension of caregiver cultivation rights is a huge victory for medical patients and was forged by support from cardholders and advocates like you. You can check out a full summary of HB 2260 here.
On the legalization front, the Dual Use Cannabis Task Force held its first meeting last month. You might recall that in 2021, both chambers passed and Gov. David Ige signed SB 1139 — which mandated the creation of the task force. The task force is charged with exploring adult-use cannabis legalization and regulation, with a focus on its impact on medical cannabis. The Office of Medical Cannabis Control and Regulation is required to submit a report of the task force findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than 20 days before the legislature begins its 2023-2024 legislative session. The task force will meet every last Monday of the month from May until November. Its work is crucial as Hawaii continues to explore approaches to make cannabis available for adults over age 21. You can find meeting information here.
Additionally, as you likely know, election season is upon us, and every elected office in Hawaii state government is on the ballot this year. It’s imperative, now more than ever, that we let candidates know how important cannabis legalization is to create much needed revenue and jobs in Hawaii. As the election draws closer, we’ll be releasing our voter guide to let you know exactly where the candidates stand on the issue of legalization so you can be informed at the polls.
Lastly, we know that personal stories can have a tremendous impact in persuading lawmakers to end cannabis prohibition. That’s why we’re asking you to please consider sharing your story with us as we continue to press for the end of cannabis prohibition in Hawaii. Let us know if you’ve been harmed by a cannabis arrest or cannabis prohibition. We’re also particularly interested in hearing from supportive former law enforcement, medical and substance abuse professionals, and clergy who support replacing prohibition with sensible regulation.
Mahalo nui loa for your continued support.