Marijuana-related bills progressing in Legislature

Five bills related to marijuana remain alive in the state Legislature.

Senate Bill 758 would increase from 3 grams to 1 ounce the minimum amount of marijuana that a defendant must possess to be charged with a petty misdemeanor. It would also permit persons previously convicted of possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana to have the conviction expunged from their criminal record.

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The proposal will be heard in the Judiciary Committee today.

Senate Bill 767 seeks to legalize the personal use, possession, and sale of marijuana in a specified quantity. It would also require licensing to operate cannabis establishments and subject sales to excise and income taxes. The measure will be heard Wednesday before a joint Committee on Judiciary and Ways and Means.

Senate Bill 1139, which seeks to increase the patient registration fee by $10 starting in 2022, from the current $35 for in-state patients and $45 for out-of-state patients, is headed to a floor vote. The measure would also fund three full-time positions via the medical cannabis registry and regulation special fund. It passed the Committee on Ways and Means on Friday.

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House Bill 477, which would increase the allowable number of production centers and retail dispensing locations per dispensary license and authorize the Department of Health to allow a licensed dispensary to purchase medical cannabis or manufactured cannabis products from another licensed dispensary to ensure ongoing qualified patient access, passed the Finance Committee on Thursday and will go to a full house vote.

Senate Bill 241, which would amend state law to allow for a qualifying in-state or out-of-state patient to transport cannabis between the islands for personal medical use, is headed to a floor vote. A measure to do just that was passed by the 2019 Legislature, however, Ige vetoed the measure, under the rationale that marijuana, including medical cannabis, remains illegal under federal law. The bill passed its last committee hearing Wednesday.

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