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Hawaii bill to legalize recreational marijuana appears dead

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The latest effort to legalize recreational marijuana for adults appears dead once again after House Finance Chair Kyle Yamashita declined to hold a vote on Senate Bill 3335.

“The path to legalizing adult-use cannabis has been a deeply divisive issue,” said Yamashita, (D, Pukalani-Makawao-Ulupalakua) in a written statement. “This year marked its furthest progression, with SB 3335 narrowly passing its second reading. 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 called the current legislative session “an abnormally fiscally challenging year” and the priority remains meeting the financial demands to help Maui recover from the deadly Aug. 8 wildfires.

“Ensuring the recovery of our communities continues to come at an extraordinary cost to the state budget, and the full cost of implementing the legalization of adult-use cannabis is unknown,” Yamashita said.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a statement,“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.”

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