Lawmakers in the Aloha State have once again failed to legalize recreational marijuana.
A bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis for adult use in Hawaii died yesterday after lawmakers missed a key deadline. The bill had to pass through the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee by Friday in order to be considered for a floor vote. However, the Health Committee did not schedule a meeting on Friday to discuss the bill, effectively killing the legalization measure.
The bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (D) who has long been associated with the cannabis legalization movement in Hawaii and has filled several similar bills over the past 15 years. Hopes were high that the time was right for marijuana legalization in Hawaii, as half of the Democrats in the State Senate had co-sponsored the bill.
Senator Roz Baker (D) - Chair of the Health Committee - said she was concerned that legalizing recreational marijuana would hurt Hawaii's medical marijuana dispensary system, which is only now starting to get its footing. Similar sentiments have been echoed by Hawaii Governor David Ige (D).
However, supporters of cannabis reform in Hawaii are confident that things will change sooner than later, but state lawmakers want to study the issue thoroughly before proceeding.
"I also think that we have enough folks who are sitting around the table who are saying, 'let's do it right. Let's not just rush into things and let's do it right,'" House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti (D) told Miami Herald.
So, for the time being, it looks like our dreams of lighting up a joint and kicking back on a Honolulu beach will have to be postponed.