Why it matters: Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez has released a new plan to legalize adult-use cannabis. This plan aims to protect the existing medical marijuana industry while allowing for the production and sale of recreational cannabis.
What they are saying: Lawmakers who have seen the proposal say that this is the state’s best effort so far at legalization. The plan is seen as comprehensive and addresses the shortcomings of previous marijuana policy reform efforts. It includes a 4.25% excise tax on adult-use marijuana and a 10% tax surcharge, with tax revenues directed towards law enforcement resources and education programs.
The big picture: Lopez’s proposal is modeled after Massachusetts’ legalization plan and includes a social equity program to address the harms caused by cannabis prohibition. The plan also establishes a 14-member law enforcement unit and creates the Hawaii Cannabis Authority to regulate the industry. The tax surcharge will not apply to medical marijuana purchases to support existing medical cannabis patients and the industry.
What to watch: The plan is considered a significant step towards adult-use cannabis legalization in Hawaii. Lawmakers hope to introduce and approve the plan in the upcoming legislative session, but it is uncertain whether this timeline will be feasible due to other pressing issues.
Take: The attorney general’s new plan for adult-use cannabis legalization in Hawaii is a positive development. By addressing previous shortcomings and including measures to protect the existing medical marijuana industry and support social equity, the proposal aims to create a well-regulated market. The focus on law enforcement, tax revenue allocation, and health education programs adds further credibility to the plan. It will be interesting to see if this proposal gains the necessary support to become law in the upcoming legislative session.