Duplicate bills to nullify the federal prohibition on marijuana were introduced in the Hawaii legislature earlier this month.

The legislation would “decriminalize and regulate small amounts of marijuana for personal use; establish a licensing scheme for the cultivation, sale, and use of small amounts of marijuana for personal use; tax marijuana sales in the same manner as state excise taxes; and subject income derived from marijuana sales to income taxes.”

HB1708 is sponsored by Democrat representatives Faye Hanohano, Mele Carroll, and John Mizuno, and SB2733 is sponsored by Democrat Senators J. Kalani English, Russell Ruderman, Malama Solomon, Donovan Dela Cruz, Brickwood Galuteria, Les Ihara, and Maile Shimabukuro.

The bills set the grounds rules for marijuana possession, including that users must be 21 years of age or older and cannot have more than 1 ounce in their possession to comply with the law. The remainder of the law focuses on definitions of personal marijuana use, operation of marijuana establishments, regulation and taxation, as well as protecting employers and property owners who do not wish to allow employees and tenants to use or possess marijuana. The law also would keep existing intoxicated driving laws in place and have no effect on existing medical marijuana law.

Both bills essentially ignore federal law and court cases holding that “federal anti-drug laws do not permit an exception for medical cannabis,” including the May 14, 2001 United States vs. Oakland (CA) Cannabis Buyers’ Club and Supreme Court case of Gonzales vs. Raich. To say nothing of legalizing for non-medical personal use – the target of these two Hawaii bills.

The federal government prohibits marijuana for any purpose. Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey says this clearly violates the Constitution.

“The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to prohibit marijuana in the states. This power remains with the state governments and the people. Doubt me? Then ask yourself why it required a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. There is no fundamental difference. Hawaii has it right. Let the people decide if they want legalized marijuana. And if they do, the heck with the feds.”


1. Contact your own representative/senator and ask him or her to support these bills to decriminalize marijuana You can find legislator contact information HERE.

2.  Share this information widely.  Please pass this along to your friends and family.  Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state.  Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.


If you don’t live in Hawaii, encourage your representative and senator to introduce legislation to put control of marijuana in the state’s hands. You can track efforts nationwide HERE. You can find model legislation HERE.


Brian Gosper

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