Hawaii Lawmakers Propose New Cannabis-Related Bills for 2020

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Dozens of cannabis-related bills have been introduced in Hawaii’s legislature this year, after the deadline to introduce new legislation passed last week.

Twenty-one new measures have been proposed, with ten introduced in the House and 11 in the Senate, according to a West Hawaii Today report. Eighteen bills in the House, and another 18 in the Senate, have been carried over from the 2019 legislative session after stalling or being deferred, the news outlet reported.

Two of the House bills aim to extend the state’s current industrial hemp pilot program to create a permanent program in the state, a proposal that passed the legislature last year before being vetoed by Gov. Davie Ige, West Hawaii Today reported. Hawaii’s current hemp program will expire in 2021.

Another hemp-related measure in the House would require labeling for hemp products and would clarify that cannabis dispensaries in the state can sell these products, according to West Hawaii Today.

Other legislation in the House would make minor adjustments to the state’s medical cannabis dispensary system, the news outlet reported, such as allowing dispensaries to sell cannabis cuttings, seeds and edible products. Another bill would allow naturopathic physicians to certify patients for Hawaii’s medical cannabis program.

Adult-use legalization is also back on the table this year; one bill in the House would add a cannabis legalization question to the state’s 2020 ballot, West Hawaii Today reported.

In the Senate, lawmakers have introduced companion bills to the House’s industrial hemp legislation, as well as the measures that would legalize edibles and authorize naturopathic physicians to certify patients for the medical cannabis program, according to the news outlet.

Other legislation in the Senate aims to broaden Hawaii’s medical program by updating the definition of “usable cannabis” to include dried leaves and flowers, and by asking the Drug Enforcement Administration to grant a federal Schedule 1 exemption for the use of medical cannabis in Hawaii, West Hawaii Today reported.

Some of the other Senate bills would allow dispensaries to deliver to patients, as well as allow patients to be reimbursed by insurance companies for medical cannabis.

Two bills in the Senate would legalize adult-use cannabis, allowing it for personal use and repealing all criminal penalties associated with it, according to West Hawaii Today.

Last year, an adult-use legalization bill cleared a Senate committee, but ultimately stalled when time ran out at the end of the legislative session.

Hawaii did successfully decriminalize cannabis and ease some of its restrictions on medical cannabis dispensaries during last year’s session, and the state also unveiled a process to allow out-of-state visitors to access medical cannabis at Hawaii’s dispensaries during their stay.

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