STAND. COM. REP. NO. 727
RE: S.B. No. 758
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 758 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO MARIJUANA,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to increase from three grams to one ounce:
(1) The minimum amount of marijuana that a defendant must possess to be charged with a petty misdemeanor; and
(2) The maximum amount of marijuana that a defendant convicted of possessing marijuana could have possessed without being disqualified from the subsequent expungement of the record of that conviction.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i; Pono Hawai‘i Initiative; Young Progressives Demanding Action; Rainbow Family 808; We Are One, Inc.; Patients Without Time; Imua Alliance; Americans for Democratic Action; and fifty-seven individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of the Attorney General, Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, Maui Police Department, Hawai‘i Police Department, Honolulu Police Department, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Judiciary.
Your Committee finds that, over the past forty years, the "War on Drugs" in the United States has resulted in a series of often racist policies that have cost the taxpayers more than $1,000,000,000,000, produced over forty million arrests, consumed law enforcement resources, contributed to alarming incarceration rates, and had a disproportionately devastating impact on communities of color. The native Hawaiian community has been particularly impacted, as they make up nearly thirty-seven percent of the State's prison population today. Additionally, a misdemeanor conviction can seriously impact a person's ability to obtain housing, education, and employment. The country is moving toward legalized and regulated adult use of recreational marijuana and decriminalizing small amounts can help eliminate race- and community-targeted enforcement, reduce over-incarceration, and allow law enforcement to focus on serious crime. Accordingly, this measure will assist in curbing ongoing systemic inequities related to drug enforcement.
Your Committee has amended this measure by decriminalizing the possession of thirty grams or less of marijuana, rather than one ounce.
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. 758, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 758, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair