In light of Colorado's $1.6 billion and growing, sales of recreational marijuana, local politicians in Hawaii want a piece of the marijuana trade. The intention is to generate additional revenue for the state.
According to a Jan. 23, report by Hawaii News Now, House Majority Floor Leader Rida Cabanilla, wants to explore the possibilities of growing enormous quantities of marijuana in Hawaii, and exporting it to other countries where recreational marijuana is legal.
House Bill 2124 has no connection to legalizing recreational marijuana in Hawaii, where medical marijuana is legal. Cabanilla proposes to legalize growing marijuana, and exporting it to countries such as the Netherlands.
Cabanilla told Hawaii News Now, "Can you imagine factories that would be making "Maui Wowie" cookies? And making marijuana macadamia nut chocolate candies for export? This is not for local use. I think that would be wonderful,"
She continued, "Once you put in Hawaii grown marijuana that would trump any supplier they may have. I honestly believe that, and this state would turn into a manufacturing state," Cabanilla said. "We are the best. We have the best marijuana in the world."
Representative Richard Creagan, M.D. (D – Naalehu, Captain Cook, Keauhou) co-sponsored the bill. The doctor said, "Our country is moving towards an eventual goal of legalizing marijuana. It's legalized in a host of states for medical reasons and when you look at the risk benefit of marijuana versus other things like narcotics the risk is small and the benefit is huge."
Representative Faye Hanohano (D – Hawaiian Acres, Pahoa, Kalapana) also co-introduced the measure. Hanohano said, "It's already growing, of course, it's illegal but we do have the highest medical permits on Hawaii Island because we do have a lot of people who are in need of medical marijuana."
Cabanilla maintains that the drug will be grown here for sales and exporting purposes only. Alan Shinn, Executive Director of Coalition for a Drug Free Hawaii, says "If marijuana is grown here, it's going to be used here."
Medical marijuana users in the state face challenges in securing the drug because the state doe's not have a dispensary system. Michael Attocknie, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, says as a first step "The focus should be on establishing legal "access" to legal medical marijuana.
Although Cabanilla is motivated by a new revenue stream for the State, she realizes that there are a number of Federal imposed laws related to exporting the drug.
"Currently, any sale of marijuana across state or international lines would violate federal drug trafficking laws. The intent is to have a working group figure out how to implement the measure if and when marijuana is no longer an illegal substance federally," Cabanilla said.