Hawaii News

Marijuana legalization bill dead with state House panel’s decision not to deliberate

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Rep. Kyle Yamashita, who represents Upcountry Maui and is chairman of the Hawaiʻi state House Committee on Finance, said Tuesday that his committee will not deliberate a measure that would legalize marijuana use for adults in the islands, essentially killing the bill this legislative session.

“The path to legalizing adult-use cannabis has been a deeply divisive issue. This year marked its furthest progression, with [Senate Bill 3335] narrowly passing its second reading,” said Yamashita. “Due to numerous concerns regarding the implementation of the bill, the House has decided against further deliberation in the House Finance Committee. This decision is strengthened by the prevailing no votes from committee members expressed on the House floor.”

He explained that during an abnormally fiscally challenging year, the committee must prioritize addressing wildfire-related expenses after the Aug. 8, 2023, tragedy in Lāhainā and Upcountry Maui. Ensuring the recovery of those communities continues to come at an extraordinary cost to the state.


“The full cost of implementing the legalization of adult-use cannabis is unknown,” Yamashita said. “As lawmakers, it would be remiss of us not to allocate funding to safeguard critical government services including education, infrastructure, roads and other essential services for Hawaiʻi’s residents and kūpuna, especially during a period of fiscal uncertainty.”

He added that now is simply not the opportune time for implementation as the state navigates the challenges of managing the largest wildfire recovery efforts in Hawaiʻi history.

“In hearing the overwhelming testimony and serious concerns from members of Hawaiʻi’s law enforcement industry, this bill requires further consideration of the impact legislation will have on our children, economy and overall well-being,” added House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.


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