Hawaii advances marijuana legislation in the Senate

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Hawaii appears to be next in line among states ready to expand marijuana legislation

A bill that would legalize marijuana in Hawaii has received recent approval from legislative committees. Other legislation that would direct the state to further study psychedelic-assisted therapy also received the go-ahead. Both measures now head to the full Senate for further debate.

After adopting a series of new amendments, the cannabis legalization measure, SB 669, did not take long to receive approval from lawmakers during a joint committee session held last Thursday. While two legislators, from different political parties, used to be opposed to the measure initially, the new changes seem to have changed their minds.

“Originally, I was going to vote no on this one, but I’m going to trust your leadership,” Sen. Brenton Awa told Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, one of the bill’s cosponsors and the chair of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. Thursday’s hearing was also joined by members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “I’m in favor of legalization,” Awa said. “I don’t like the restrictions, but I will vote for it.”

For his part, Senator Herbert “Tim” Richards III, said that while he still had some skepticism about the proposal, he was willing to do his part to bring it to the Senate floor. “I fully appreciate the work he’s done on this and I’m looking at a path forward,” he told Keohokalole before the vote. He added that his reservations will still remain as some concerns are still lingering, but he knows that is something he will be able to work on as time goes on.