It’s time now to legalize cannabis for recreational use by adults in Hawaii.
The recreational use of cannabis is already legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C..
It is the right thing to do in terms of public policy, we need the significant tax revenue legalization will generate and it is inevitable that Hawaii will eventually follow the many other states who have already taken the step.
Why are we waiting? Delaying an action we know will be taken in the coming years achieves nothing while costing our state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Most law-makers are by nature risk adverse and will tackle the big and potentially controversial issues only when pressed by their constituents to do so.
It is time now to press on this particular issue.
Please call or email your individual district Representative and Senator, today (before Wednesday February 15 if at all possible) to express your support for legalization and request a hearing for SB548 and HB1464.
Hawaii should move forward now to pass into law HB1464 or SB548 or similar measures that legalizes the growing, use and sale of small amounts of cannabis by adults for recreational use. We can learn from the experience of states that have gone before us and adopt reasonable policies now to implement this long overdue and much needed public policy change.
Proposed measures to decriminalize the use and possession of small amounts are not enough and though well intended serve only to delay what is really needed – which is full legalization.
It is only through legalization that the fear, stigma and heavy cost of criminalization is avoided. Only through legalization will the jobs and much needed tax income be created. Decriminalization is a half step that accomplishes none of this.
Important facts for the skeptics:
- Marijuana is not a so-called gateway drug. “…the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances.” National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov
- Legalization of Cannabis does not lead to an increase in crime. “Since 2009, when the medical marijuana industry in Colorado started to take off, both rates (property crime and violent crime) have fallen—by 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively.” Reason Magazine review of Colorado study
- Legalization does not lead to increased use among young people. “Rates of marijuana use among Colorado’s teenagers are essentially unchanged in the years since the state’s voters legalized marijuana in 2012, new survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows.” Washington Post
Every single aspect of government is in need of additional funding and the legalization of cannabis could provide significant funds for schools, natural resource protection, affordable housing and much more.
I suspect a majority in the legislature agree that legalization is the right policy and that the State desperately needs the money and jobs it will generate, but they will only act when the citizen voice is loud and clear and demands action.
We all know this policy shift is inevitable and our state needs the benefits now.
Please call or email your State Representative and Senator today.
Kauai County Council 2012 – 2016 Hawaii State Senator 2002 – 2010 Senate Majority Leader 2006 – 2010
Other Reasons Supporting Legalization from the Drug Policy Alliance http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana-legalization-and-regulation
“Like alcohol Prohibition in the 1920s, which was intended to banish certain substances from society, drug prohibition has not only failed its mission but has made its mission impossible. The failures of prohibition are painfully obvious: wasted money, wasted lives and wasted opportunities.”
Reduce harm The criminalization of marijuana use disproportionately harms young people and people of color, sponsors massive levels of violence and corruption, and fails to curb youth access.
Create jobs Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation’s largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.
Save money Scarce law enforcement resources will be better used to ensure public safety while reducing corrections and court costs. State and local governments would acquire significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales.
Promote consumer safety Marijuana product testing is becoming a standard requirement for legalized marijuana markets. This means consumers are better informed about the marijuana they use.
Drug Policy Alliance