Adult-use cannabis legalization in Hawaii blocked in state House

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Adult-use cannabis legalization appears dead for the year in Hawaii, despite support from the state’s Senate and Democratic governor.

Senate Bill 669, which would have legalized adult-use sales for adults 21 and older and set up a regulatory system similar to those seen in other states, was not scheduled for a state House hearing before a key legislative deadline, according to Marijuana Moment.

That means that despite support from Gov. Josh Green and the fact the bill passed the state Senate on a 22-3 vote, legalization in the state ran into a roadblock that advocates anticipated.

Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki has said he prefers state lawmakers spend the summer “studying” legalization rather than taking quicker action.

The state Legislature operates on a two-year cycle, meaning the bill has a chance to advance through the House in 2024.

House leadership killed off three earlier legalization proposals introduced in that chamber in February when those bills were also not scheduled for hearings, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

SB 669 would have allowed existing medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii to convert to adult use during a two-year pilot period.

Sales would have been subject to a 10% excise tax and a 10% sales tax.

Vertical integration would have been banned.