A new report by the Hawai’i Cannabis Industry Association (HICIA) found that licensing cannabis businesses to cultivate and sell legalized cannabis could create thousands of jobs and generate tens of millions in tax revenue.
The 2023 Adult Use Market and Tax Projection Report reports that “3,375 new direct cannabis jobs would be created through the legalization of adult-use cannabis which does not take into account the indirect or ancillary business jobs that will also be created.” Additionally, the report predicts that the sales of legal cannabis could raise as much as $82 million in annual tax revenue.
State Legalization Efforts
Currently there are several active bills in the Hawaii legislature that address the legalization issue:
- House Bill 237 and Senate Bill 375 address the legalization of cannabis for adult use.
- House Bill 452 seeks to place a legalization question on the 2024 ballot.
- Senate Bill 669 would legalize the personal cultivation of small amounts of cannabis.
- House Bill 1216 legalizes and regulates the use and sale of up to 30g of marijuana.
- House Bill 1425 legalizes the purchase of up to 28.5g of the cannabis flower.
While the state of Hawaii has not yet legalized the recreational use of cannabis, it did decriminalize possession of three grams or less of the substance and medical cannabis was legalized in 2000.
Support From the Top
The newly-elected Governor, Democrat Josh Green, has also pledged that he would sign legalization legislation should it cross his desk. During an election season debate debate, Green stated, “I think that people already have moved past that culturally as a concern. But here’s what I would do. First of all, if marijuana is legalized, it should be very carefully monitored, and only done like cigarettes, or I’ve been very careful to regulate tobacco over the years. We should take the $30 to $40 million of taxes we would get from that and invest in the in the development and recreation of our mental healthcare system for the good of all.”
Hopefully, Governor Green will have a chance to sign that legislation this session.