Senate committees advance marijuana legalization bill

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Two Senate committees jointly advanced an amended bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in Hawai’i in a Friday meeting, pushing the measure closer toward final approval. 

Senate Bill 3335 would legalize recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and older, effective Jan. 1, 2026. It would also create the Hawaiʻi Cannabis Authority and Cannabis Control Board to establish cannabis taxes and regulate sales.

A public decision making was held by the Commerce and Consumer Protection (CPN) and Ways and Means (WAM) committees on March 1, where they voted on SB 3335 following its passage on second reading last month.

Bill introducer Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, who chairs the CPN committee, noted several amendments had been added to the bill to reflect concerns discussed in previous meetings, including adding the word “hemp” to the name of the cannabis authority and control board that the measure would establish. 


SB 3335, which is nearly 200 pages long, was also amended to allow individuals with felony convictions to apply for licenses and employment. To be eligible, they must have completed probation, incarceration or supervised release over 10 years ago. 

Additional amendments included blanking out the previously requested state funding of $38 million to reflect ongoing discussions at the legislature, Keohokalole said. 

Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, a member of the WAM committee, voiced concerns about the medical cannabis program in the state lacking proper procedures. “Having this move to a pleasure cannabis gives me concern,” she said. 


Sen. Kurt Fevella, another WAM member, said he could not support the bill. “I support hemp. But with this cannabis pleasure thing, I cannot support the bill,” he said. 

Sen. Herbert “Tim” Richards, a CPN committee member, voted in support but with reservations.

“I’m going to be supporting with reservations just because I think we still have a little bit of work we need to do, but I think we’re close,” he said.


Senators Henry Aquino, Lynn DeCoite, and Carol Fukunaga also voted yes with reservations. 

Without much discussion or debate, the measure passed with a 7-5 vote from WAM committee members and a 4-0 vote from the CPN committee. 

A third reading for SB 3335 is likely to be scheduled in the coming days, as the bill has a March 7 deadline to cross over to the House for further consideration. 

Emma Grunwald
Emma Grunwald is a reporter for Kauaʻi Now. You can reach her at
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