Hawaii House Committee Shuts Down Hearing on Rec Weed, Crushing Effort for 2024

Hawaii House Committee Shuts Down Hearing on Rec Weed, Crushing Effort for 2024Yo, peep this – ’round this time last month, Hawaii lawmakers and advocates were gearing up for a potential shift to an adult-use cannabis game after the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would make recreational weed legal and regulate it.

But hold up, a major Hawaii House committee chair just dropped the bomb that they ain’t even gonna bother hearing the bill before the legislative deadline this week, straight up killing the whole vibe for 2024.

Hawaii been holding it down as the oldest medical-only cannabis scene in the U.S., with medical weed getting the green light back in 2000.

So check it, the Hawaiian Senate was all about that bill, SB 3335, giving it a fat 19-6 vote on March 5. It hit up that lower House chamber for a hot sec and just barely passed with a 25-23 vote last month.

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But then it hit a brick wall when it rolled up to the Hawaii House Finance Committee, and this dude Rep. Kyle Yamashita was like nah, we ain’t tryna hear all that. He straight up said that legalization is too much of a hot-button issue right now and ain’t nobody got time for that drama.

Yamashita was all like, “Nah fam, we got other stuff to worry about. Like them wildfires from last year in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui – that recovery effort ain’t cheap. So until we figure out what’s really good with them finances, we can’t be dropping stacks on adult-use cannabis. We gotta look out for our peeps first.”

The bill was based on some plan from Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez back in November 2023. It would have let adults over 21 have an ounce of weed and five grams of concentrates, plus set up a whole system for selling recreational cannabis.

They were gonna slap a 14% tax on adult-use weed and a 4% tax on medical weed. There were also rules for growing your own stash at home – you could have six plants and up to 10 ounces of that homegrown goodness.

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But peep this – there were some hiccups with the bill. They wanted to test your blood for THC if you were driving (even though THC sticks around in your body long after you smoke up), set up a whole new squad to enforce cannabis laws, and even throw folks in jail for having some loose herb or a pipe in their car.

The people of Hawaii were mostly feeling the vibe though – a poll showed that 58% of adults in the state were down with legalizing adult-use cannabis.

Even Governor Josh Green was like, “I’m cool with it.” He said he’d sign off on it if the bill made its way to his desk.

But here’s where it gets real – this ain’t the first time Hawaii tried to make adult-use cannabis happen. Last year they had a bill pass in the Senate but it got stuck in the House.

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The Speaker was talking about how law enforcement had concerns and how they needed more time to think about the impact on kids and the economy.

But my man Rep. David Tarnas ain’t giving up. He’s already planning to drop a new bill next session with some changes to address those concerns from last time.

Advocates are standing strong too, saying this setback won’t stop them from pushing for full-on legalization. They’re ready to keep grinding until they get that W.

So while Hawaii might not be lighting up legally just yet, there’s still hope on the horizon. The fight ain’t over till it’s over, ya dig?

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