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House snuffs out bill to legalize marijuana in Hawaii

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:01 p.m. HST, Feb 12, 2013


A bill that would have legalized marijuana in Hawaii has died in the state House.

House judiciary committee Chairman Karl Rhoads said Tuesday that he decided to kill the bill after learning from House leadership that the initiative does not have enough votes to pass the House.

Key lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House supported the measure, including the speaker and the majority leader.

Pamela Lichty, head of the Hawaii Drug Policy Action Group, says the organization is disappointed with the outcome but will continue to advocate for marijuana decriminalization through other measures.

She says that the fact that there were more than 20 marijuana-related bills introduced this year is a sign of public support for the initiative.

She says the organization plans to continue to advocate for bills related to medical marijuana, which is legal in Hawaii.

The proposal that failed Tuesday would have legalized marijuana for recreational use for people aged 21 or older. It can’t be revived until future sessions.

The initiative ignited an outpouring of public testimony that reflected sharply divided public opinion.

At a public hearing on the bill, law enforcement officials told Hawaii lawmakers that marijuana is a dangerous drug.

They said the societal costs of legalizing weed aren’t worth the risks of allowing marijuana culture to proliferate.

Opponents of the bill included the state attorney general, the county police departments and the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii.

Numerous community members voiced opinions in favor of legalization, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.

Proponents said the move would conserve state resources and respect residents’ freedom of choice. 

They said the state’s current law against marijuana disproportionately impacts Native Hawaiians and other minority groups. 

The attempt to legalize the drug for recreational use comes just months after Colorado and Washington passed similar laws. 

Federal law still prohibits possession or distribution of marijuana.







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kainalu wrote:
Of course they would. Our legislature isn't about getting anything done, it's about getting nothing done. They'll be sure to cash their paychecks though, and figure ways to tax anything and everything.
on February 12,2013 | 04:06PM
SteveToo wrote:
Boo Hiss! Whimps
on February 12,2013 | 04:26PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Why do people want to smoke marijuana anyway? Why do people want to smoke cigarettes? Are so many people so weak that they need to succumb to such a bad habit to gain some pleasure or to try to gain acceptance?
on February 12,2013 | 04:47PM
soundofreason wrote:
Does this country need ANY more ways to be MORE unproductive?
on February 12,2013 | 06:20PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
By killing it in committee the bill never gets to a full House vote and we the public never get to see who is in favor and who is against. If a committee chair kills a bill because he is advised it lacks enough votes, then spell out how each of the members would have voted. Otherwise it is just a convenient excuse.
on February 12,2013 | 05:21PM
SteveM wrote:
Couldn't have said it any better
on February 13,2013 | 05:56PM
nomerod wrote:
"A sign of public support for the initiative?" Pamela Lichty, head of the Hawaii Drug Policy Action Group failed to mention that the support comes from the using public! Kinda like the poll results which were also skewed!! Take your drugs and go back to where you came from!! The last thing we need is another drug added to an already bad drug problem we are currently dealing with!!! Hats off to House judiciary committee Chairman Karl Rhoads for killing the bill!! Signed, A Concerned Parent
on February 12,2013 | 06:54PM
MrGlenn wrote:
"another drug added" Right?, because prohibition and making consumers criminals results in cannabis being wholly unavailable to all?
on February 14,2013 | 08:12PM
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