The Hawaii Senate recently passed legislation that would legalize cannabis in the state and that would considerably broaden the current decriminalization laws in the state. Under the first bill, adults would be permitted to grow the plant for personal use as well as possess up to an ounce of marijuana. The proposal got a 20 to 5 vote in the chamber.
The second proposal would add onto the existing decriminalization law in the state, which states that the possession of three grams or less of cannabis is punishable by a $130 fine. The Senate approved the proposal to increase this limit to 30 grams, or just over an ounce, in a 24 to 1 vote.
Both legislations have now been advanced to the House, with some concerned about how Governor David Ige will approach these legislations.
In an interview earlier this month, the governor declined to comment on whether he would veto the legalization proposal or approve it. He did, however, state that the ongoing federal prohibition on cannabis created obstacles that he’d have to factor into his decision.
Ige explained that he had concerns, seeing as cannabis was still classified as a Schedule 1 substance and is therefore highly regulated by the federal government. He continued, stating that until this classification was changed, it would be confusing for the public to think that marijuana was legalized in the state.
In spite of this, the state of Hawaii already has in place a medical marijuana market place. The adult-use legalization measure would maintain this medical program and allow registered patients to possess up to four ounces of marijuana. The measure would also require that the Department of Health in the state develop and establish regulations that will govern retail sales and business licensing by July 1 this year. However, it has not been made clear when stores would be launched.
The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii board president Nikos Leverenz stated that it was a historic day for marijuana reform in the state, adding that it was now up to House leadership to make sure that the bill progressed. Leverenz noted that adult-use legalization of marijuana would help create quality jobs in retail, agriculture and other businesses that would be influenced by marijuana’s production and distribution.
In addition, another proposal that would have legalized psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use had also been introduced for this session in the state. However, the proposal got held up in committee in February.
As Hawaii is debating whether or not to legalize recreational cannabis, companies in states that have enacted favorable cannabis laws, such as Michigan, are already reaping the benefits. For example, Gage Growth Corp. (d.b.a. Gage Cannabis) registered a 157% rate of growth in its sales in the first three quarters of 2020—the first year in which the company launched in that market.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Gage Cannabis Co. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/GAGE
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