Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 686

S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 686 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


(1) Decriminalize and regulate small amounts of marijuana for personal use;


(2) Establish a licensing scheme for the cultivation, sale, and use of small amounts of marijuana for personal use;


(3) Tax marijuana in the same manner as state excise taxes; and


(4) Subject income derived from marijuana sales to state income taxes.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Democratic Party of Hawaii; VivaGrow Systems, Inc.; We Are One, Inc.; Kamaaina Kingdom; Mana Artisian Botanics; Global Loading Zone, Inc.; Patients Without Time; HCC Legislative Committee; Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii; Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawaii; Kine Bottles; Community Alliance on Prisons; Young Progressives Demanding Action; American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii; IMUAlliance; Life of the Land; Drug Policy Action Group; and four hundred thirty-one individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Transportation, Department of the Attorney General, Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu County Republican Party, Hawaii Family Forum, Hawaii Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii, Bobby Benson Center, Hawaii Future Project, and forty-three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Taxation, Tax Foundation of Hawaii, Hawaii Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Hawaii Educational Association for Licensed Therapeutic Healthcare, and three individuals.


Your Committee finds that ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of cannabis by adults, and that others are in the process of considering legalization. Your Committee further finds that legalization in these states has avoided the criminalization of thousands of people, reduced opioid overdose deaths and untreated opioid use disorders, and lowered the number of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Your Committee additionally finds that recent polling indicates broad public support in Hawaii for the legalization of cannabis.


Your Committee also finds that medical cannabis dispensaries have been authorized to begin operating since July, 2016. Your Committee further finds that these dispensaries are highly regulated and monitored. Your Committee additionally finds that there is no need to set up an entirely new system of licensed cannabis retail establishments at this time when an established cannabis production and dispensary system already exists.


Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Removing language allowing marijuana retail establishments;


(2) Allowing medial cannabis dispensaries to begin selling recreational cannabis after February 1, 2021;


(3) Allowing persons twenty-one years of age and older to possess up to 0.5 ounces of cannabis or cannabis products for personal use;


(4) Imposing an additional fifteen percent excise tax on the sale of non-medical cannabis and non-medical cannabis products;


(5) Specifying that thirty percent of the additional excise tax on the sale of non-medical cannabis and non-medical cannabis products shall be used to provide substance abuse prevention and education;


(6) Clarifying that bans on smoking and the use of tobacco products also apply to smoking non-medical cannabis and non-medical cannabis products;


(7) Making numerous conforming amendments, including changing "marijuana" to "cannabis" throughout; and


(8) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 686, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 686, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health and Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,