Time To Legalize Pot In Hawaii – It’s The Right Thing To Do And Frankly We Need The Money

It’s time now to legalize cannabis for recreational use by adults in Hawaii.

The recreational use of cannabis is already legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C..

It is the right thing to do in terms of public policy, we need the significant tax revenue legalization will generate and it is inevitable that Hawaii will eventually follow the many other states who have already taken the step.

Why are we waiting?  Delaying an action we know will be taken in the coming years achieves nothing while costing our state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Most law-makers are by nature risk adverse and will tackle the big and potentially controversial issues only when pressed by their constituents to do so.

It is time now to press on this particular issue.

Please call or email your individual district Representative and Senator, today (before Wednesday February 15 if at all possible) to express your support for legalization and request a hearing for SB548 and HB1464.

Or, email ALL Representatives and Senators the same message at sens@capitol.hawaii.gov  or reps@capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii should move forward now to pass into law HB1464 or SB548 or similar measures that legalizes the growing, use and sale of small amounts of cannabis by adults for recreational use.  We can learn from the experience of states that have gone before us and adopt reasonable policies now to implement this long overdue and much needed public policy change.

Proposed measures to decriminalize the use and possession of small amounts are not enough and though well intended serve only to delay what is really needed – which is full legalization.

It is only through legalization that the fear, stigma and heavy cost of criminalization is avoided.  Only through legalization will the jobs and much needed tax income be created.  Decriminalization is a half step that accomplishes none of this.

Important facts for the skeptics:

  1. Marijuana is not a so-called gateway drug.  “…the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances.”  National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov
  2. Legalization of Cannabis does not lead to an increase in crime. “Since 2009, when the medical marijuana industry in Colorado started to take off, both rates (property crime and violent crime) have fallen—by 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively.” Reason Magazine review of Colorado study
  3. Legalization does not lead to increased use among young people. “Rates of marijuana use among Colorado’s teenagers are essentially unchanged in the years since the state’s voters legalized marijuana in 2012, new survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows.”  Washington Post

Every single aspect of government is in need of additional funding and the legalization of cannabis could provide significant funds for schools, natural resource protection, affordable housing and much more.

I suspect a majority in the legislature agree that legalization is the right policy and that the State desperately needs the money and jobs it will generate, but they will only act when the citizen voice is loud and clear and demands action.

We all know this policy shift is inevitable and our state needs the benefits now.

Please call or email your State Representative and Senator today.

Gary Hooser

Kauai County Council 2012 – 2016                                                                                           Hawaii State Senator 2002 – 2010                                                                                            Senate Majority Leader 2006 – 2010

Other Reasons Supporting Legalization from the Drug Policy Alliance http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana-legalization-and-regulation

“Like alcohol Prohibition in the 1920s, which was intended to banish certain substances from society, drug prohibition has not only failed its mission but has made its mission impossible.  The failures of prohibition are painfully obvious: wasted money, wasted lives and wasted opportunities.”

Reduce harm                                                                                                                                       The criminalization of marijuana use disproportionately harms young people and people of color, sponsors massive levels of violence and corruption, and fails to curb youth access.

Create jobs                                                                                                                                  Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation’s largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.

Save money                                                                                                                                     Scarce law enforcement resources will be better used to ensure public safety while reducing corrections and court costs. State and local governments would acquire significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales.

Promote consumer safety                                                                                                        Marijuana product testing is becoming a standard requirement for legalized marijuana markets. This means consumers are better informed about the marijuana they use.

Drug Policy Alliance

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About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person. I presently serve now as a volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org In a past life I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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6 Responses to Time To Legalize Pot In Hawaii – It’s The Right Thing To Do And Frankly We Need The Money

  1. Thank you, Gary. Repeal prohibition and free the herb now.

  2. PinsEmoto. says:

    Good thoughts. Good job. I voted for you.

  3. Julie shoemaker says:

    Marijuana is absolutely necessary to regain health care for patients. Its also key in managing barbituate addiction, meth addiction, alcohol addiction. Recreational sales creates jobs and boosts the economy. The sales tax could fund animal shelters, animal care education, and adolescent recreational programs, keeping youth from boredom/meth. Combining animal welfare and child welfare benefits both homeless animals and provides our kids with self respect and possibly pre career training, which is needed on the island.

  4. Judy Dalton says:

    Thank you, Gary, for your enlightened comments about legalizing marijuana.
    You’re right. What is Hawaii waiting for?

  5. Smartin says:

    Aloha Gary.. I agree with what you are saying. I fully see and understand what other states are doing, but the Feds are the people that need to move forward in order for all to benefit from those actions. I remember the legislators throwing casinos and gambling out because of those who will spend their income on gambling instead of feeding their families. Since when will government not try to control us from ourselves as they always do?. Marijuana is a medicine and for that reason should not be taxed. Why would we want to tax people who need medicine? But yes to recreational marijuana and a fair tax for recreational use. If the state gets greedy then it won’t work because people who use it recreationally will buy it from medicinal growers for much less than that at dispensaries or public markets. The best part it will save government billions on court costs, jails, and related issues governing such standards. Thanks for your time.Steve Martin

  6. Steve says:

    Aloha Gary…. You mention pressing our reps because it’s the only way to get them to move in the direction of recreational marijuana… The only thing that will move people is if we promise to change the way we VOTE. Vote for people who want what we want and those people will make the changes we need. Thanks Steve

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