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Hawaii lawmakers introduce bill to legalize marijuana

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:59 p.m. HST, Jan 23, 2013


Several key Hawaii lawmakers want to legalize marijuana in the Aloha State.

House Speaker Joseph Souki and House Majority Leader Scott Saiki, both Democrats, introduced a bill to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by people aged 21 years or older.

Nine lawmakers co-sponsored a similar bill in the state Senate.

The move comes in the wake of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington last year.

Despite his support for the initiative, Saiki says he doesn’t think there’s enough support for the bill in the House right now.

“I’m not holding my breath on whether this will pass or not,” he said. 

Regardless, Saiki says he thinks it is important to discuss the issue, which he calls a matter of individual choice, because it has evolved over time.

The senators who sponsored the bill to legalize the drug say that doing so will decrease crime rates and help Hawaii’s economy.

They say that legalizing the substance is “natural, logical and reasonable” given current scientific research and public opinion.

Opponents, including House Minority Leader Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, say the senators have it wrong. They believe legalization may increase crime.

“I’d rather exercise more caution than have to worry about controlling the extra societal costs,” Johanson said.

Saiki acknowledged that there are “significant public safety concerns” associated with his proposal that led him to add quantity limits and other regulations to the measure.

Johanson says there are mixed feelings toward legalization in the minority caucus.

Medical marijuana is legal in Hawaii. The Legislature has considered bills to legalize the substance for recreational use in the past and faced opposition from the law enforcement community.

Michelle Yu, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Police Department, says that the agency is against legalizing marijuana. She says that the drug has a high potential for addiction and abuse.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro is also opposed to marijuana legalization. 

The state Legislature will consider at least 18 bills related to marijuana this session.







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TLehel wrote:
Finally something is being done. There's no point in keeping it illegal. Everyone treats it as a legal substance anyway.
on January 23,2013 | 10:52AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Hawaii definitely needs legal pharmaceuticals that make its people move slower and act dumber. Great idea.
on January 23,2013 | 02:49PM
kaupena wrote:
That's funny. Good comment. I needed that. Thanks.
on January 23,2013 | 03:34PM
sanoname wrote:
yes it ok drug pusher will take over Hawaii will control the people friend & family of drug addicts. few people will be rich like drug pusher & mafia our furture kids will be the same as family smoking dope why work smoke. onlt costing Hawaii billions Waite till trillion a year I think I 'm saying this backwards
on January 23,2013 | 10:18PM
st1d wrote:
it would be great to also include expungement for all convictions for people who possesses an ounce or less.
on January 23,2013 | 11:04AM
TLehel wrote:
Agreed. They shouldn't have their record dirtied for a drug charge no longer illegal. One can only hope, though.
on January 23,2013 | 11:11AM
Compassionate_Cat wrote:
I agree too. We have made criminals instead of citizens, how dumb it that? The trickle down effect might take some time but it will end up reducing crime worldwide.
on January 23,2013 | 11:46AM
TLehel wrote:
Especially since Marijuana is the ultimate anti-crime drug. It makes you too peaceful/lazy/paranoid to commit any crimes. Let the smoke rise!
on January 23,2013 | 11:52AM
kaupena wrote:
I am laughing so hard now. Thanks everyone for a GOOD after work laugh.
on January 23,2013 | 03:59PM
false wrote:
This issue need to be address now.
on January 23,2013 | 11:10AM
Wazdat wrote:
GOOD JOB, This SHOULD happen, since mary jane sends to many people to jail.
on January 23,2013 | 11:12AM
TheKagawas wrote:
1 oz? Most people get drunk after 3 beers yet I can still buy a keg if I wanted!
on January 23,2013 | 11:41AM
TLehel wrote:
Right? People can easily get trashed and get others hurt. So many people drive drunk too. I'd rather have stoners driving around than drunks. Of course legalizing does rise the issue of people getting "cross-faded". Hopefully the masses don't try to drink, smoke, then drive.
on January 23,2013 | 11:56AM
hon2255 wrote:
Beer is a lot cheaper
on January 23,2013 | 06:53PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Diagnostic Labs and many employers would need to stop chasing weed users now. Btw where was this request in Neil's State of The State? Goes to show that maybe Preschool Education is not a priority, or are we going to wait until the last minute rush again?? Neil this shot across your bow needs to remind u to stand up for your New Hawaii, otherwise ship out and let someone else try.
on January 23,2013 | 11:57AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
At a minimum we need to have a discussion on this issue. Is this the right thing to do? I don't know but is sure seems like the times have changed and our views of pakalolo has changed along side. Perhaps we can legalize now and evaluate over the next couple of years or something like that.
on January 23,2013 | 12:00PM
hon2255 wrote:
We have enough ills in society ,we dont need another vice.
on January 23,2013 | 06:54PM
Wahiawamauka wrote:
legalize it.
on January 23,2013 | 12:18PM
lawson200 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 23,2013 | 12:38PM
olos73 wrote:
Tax and get some money, so don't have to take away from social services.
on January 23,2013 | 02:10PM
primo1 wrote:
If this bill is passed, there will have to be a LOT more legislation on this "new" industry. Will there be a retail market? How about the agriculture side? Taxes? Legislators better be prepared to go all in or just fold...
on January 23,2013 | 12:50PM
kaupena wrote:
Yup, can you imagine 10 acres of this weed growing wild worth millions and millions of dollars. How does one apply for this type of agricultural permit to grow.
on January 23,2013 | 04:03PM
AirRescueFF wrote:
This is their 3 birds with 1 stone(d) solution...

- Help to quench their never-ending thirst for "revenue enhancements."

- Discourage users from getting behind the wheel...and ride rail instead.

- Help to patronize/justify the (food) shops that are supposed to be built along the rail line.


on January 23,2013 | 12:51PM
kahuku01 wrote:
The 3 birds are not associated with the state legislature because your three birds are related to the city's rail project.
on January 23,2013 | 01:09PM
false wrote:
That's a good one. LOL
on January 23,2013 | 03:30PM
AirRescueFF wrote:
Way to fail a joke.
on January 23,2013 | 03:58PM
KimoSabey wrote:
Then the voters will never show up if they are stoned like legislators.
on January 23,2013 | 12:53PM
alfhawaii wrote:
the state needs new revenue sources. If they're not going to legalize gambling or join the lottery, then legalize pot.
on January 23,2013 | 01:37PM
olos73 wrote:
Legalize pot now, since they're talking about it, then, legalize gambling or lottery. The State needs money desperately. Anti-pot, anti-gambling people should be happy that the pro-people are putting money into the coffers and they're not. Cannot grumble, cuz less money out of their pockets.
on January 23,2013 | 02:19PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Additional sales tax revenues on pizza alone would be significant. Enough to provide free laptops to every kid, even the rich ones.
on January 23,2013 | 02:47PM
Hawaii001 wrote:
Legalize it. Hawaii law already has HRS 291E-61(a)(2) that covers driving under the influence of drugs (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant). So if they wanna drive while drugged out, then they'll have to answer to the courts...and can possibly get their privilege taken away.
on January 23,2013 | 01:42PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Saiki: “I’m not holding my breath....” he said. ...

You're doing it wrong, Scotty.


on January 23,2013 | 02:46PM
false wrote:
Inhale brah, inhale.
on January 23,2013 | 03:31PM
st1d wrote:
they should also legalize growing up to eight plants for personal use. oh, wait, ten plants. sorry, i missed the two in the corner.
on January 23,2013 | 02:57PM
false wrote:
If you're in favor called your legislators. Will they listen? Probably not. Do they ever?
on January 23,2013 | 03:33PM
st1d wrote:
i'm thinking: i'd rather be chillng than killing. does that work for a memorable takeaway, something they will remember after the face time.
on January 23,2013 | 05:57PM
gari wrote:
The reason why and the bill maker is so important and should be published so they can be accountable . . help hawaii's economy ???
on January 23,2013 | 03:31PM
skip876 wrote:
The question is..... "Should we put pot smokers in jail"??????? NO ONE has ever "OD'd" on pot. Why should these people be treated like criminals? It is about time!
on January 23,2013 | 03:47PM
sanoname wrote:
I seen people driving on pot.very very bad slow to respond .might be seeing things that not their the move to harder drugs drug house making billions they don't pay tax 100 of tons shipped out lot of profit but it not helping the tax payers it hurting people
on January 23,2013 | 10:11PM
Oahuan wrote:
We need to bring Twinkies back if this bill passes.
on January 23,2013 | 04:26PM
entrkn wrote:
way past time to legalize marijuana...
on January 23,2013 | 06:21PM
hon2255 wrote:
We dont need anymore drugs around our kids, the stoners can move to the mainland to colorado, stoned out drivers on ganja getting into accidents , its enough with alcohol and other drugs, staying healthy and sober and enjoying life without drugs. Wake up people our society is going down the dump.
on January 23,2013 | 06:46PM
Bdpapa wrote:
I agree with you, we don't need another intoxicant in our communities!
on January 23,2013 | 07:03PM
NITRO08 wrote:
IT'S ALREADY IN YOUR COMMUNITY!
on January 23,2013 | 09:30PM
NITRO08 wrote:
It's up to you drinking or take drugs but enough spending on some thing they can not stop!
on January 23,2013 | 09:33PM
sanoname wrote:
yes let stop drugs.. drug pusher don't pay G.E. tax or income tax on gain costing billions. lock the drug pusher ,mafia, crime house.Away
on January 23,2013 | 10:06PM
hon2255 wrote:
Stop smoking Waz, you can't remember how to spell correctly, aloha .
on January 23,2013 | 06:52PM
environmental_lady wrote:
Although I don't smoke anything and hate smoking, the one thing I don't like about marijuana prohibition is all those helicopters flying low around our neighborhood looking for marijuana plants. It's not just the noise but the thought of our tax dollars needlessly wasted on helicopters and all that fuel burnt. And people still grow marijuana despite the helicopters. So what's the point of prohibition when it wastes so many tax dollars? Otherwise, I don't care since I don't smoke anyway.
on January 23,2013 | 08:34PM
sanoname wrote:
from marijuana people move to harder drugs. smoking can cause paranoid reaction. wow hate to see people driving on dope let say no to drugs. to many drug pusher in Waianae we want to take back our town kick the drug dealers out.
on January 23,2013 | 10:02PM
konag43 wrote:
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENDS WHEN SOCIETY STARTS TO GET SICK. WHEN FAMILY VALUES START TO BREAK DOWN. JUST BECAUSE JOHHNY JUMPS IN THE FIRE DOES NOT MEAN JACK HAS TO ALSO JUMP. THERE IS PROVEN FACTS THAT MJ IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF DRUG USE AND THESE PEOPLE THEN GO ON TO USING HARDER DRUGS. ARE YOU POLITICIANS CRAZY.ALLYOU PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT SAY ITS OK TO USE MJ ARE NUTS. IF YOU THINKS THINGS ARE BAD NOW . THEY WILL GET WORSE WITH LEGALIZATION. JUST WHAT WE NEED STONE HEADS AS AIRCRAFT MECHAINCS, HOSPITAL WORKERS, DOCTORS IN OPERTATING ROOMS. HEAVY EQUIPMENT DRIVERS, TRACTER TRRAILER DRIVERS ALL HIGH AND SO ON. GET THE PICTURE. PUBLIC.
on January 24,2013 | 10:52AM
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