Hawaii would grow cannabis and export the drug internationally under a bill introduced in the state Legislature on Friday.
House Bill 2124, spearheaded by Rep. Rida Cabanilla, would legalize the commercial production and distribution of marijuana and edibles solely for sale to other countries where marijuana use is legal. Taxes gleaned from such sales would be used to fund state programs. (Here’s a video link of Cabanilla commenting on the proposal).
It’s a forward-thinking idea that looks to capitalize on the increasing acceptance globally of medical and recreational cannabis, which has led to looser marijuana laws in many countries.
But it wouldn’t happen without significant change at the federal level, even if lawmakers pass the bill. The state couldn’t actually export marijuana given that the U.S. government deems it an illegal drug, and cannabis cannot currently be transported across state lines.
The thinking in Hawaii, however, is that having a law on the books would position the state well if and when the feds change their position on marijuana, which could happen sooner rather than later given cannabis movement’s momentum.
Under the bill, Hawaii’s economic development and tourism department would work with state agricultural officials to develop rules on cultivation, production of products and transport of marijuana overseas. They would need to submit these regulations to the legislature ahead of the 2015 regular session.
“Hawaii is well situated to provide an abundant supply of quality marijuana to fill a growing international demand,” Cabanilla said in a press release.
Hawaii previously legalized medical marijuana use, but it does not allow dispensaries to distribute the drug.