Fresh Approach Hawaii

A Coalition to Reform Hawaii's Marijuana Laws

Opinion poll on Hawaii marijuana laws

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Economist estimates state & counties stand to save/ generate an estimated $20M/year through marijuana legalization

(Honolulu, Hawaii) With many states decriminalizing and even legalizing marijuana, where does Hawaii stand? Two new reports commissioned by the Drug Policy Action Group (“DPAG”) sought to answer this question, and the latest findings were presented at a January 10, 2013 Honolulu press conference. Barbara Ankersmit, President of QMark Research shared the results of a statewide poll of Hawaii voters’ attitudes toward marijuana and marijuana laws. Pamela Lichty, President of the Drug Policy Action Group, presented highlights from a new report on the potential economic impacts of marijuana legalization authored by David Nixon, Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii College of Social Sciences Public Policy Center.

The text of both reports is published at: http://freshapproachhawaii.org/economic-perspectives/

Respected local polling firm QMark Research was commissioned to conduct a statewide, statistically significant poll of 600 Hawaii voters. The poll occurred between November 19 and December 4, 2012. Among its findings:

• 78% support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.

• 69% think that jail time for marijuana offenses is inappropriate.

• 57% favor legalized, taxed and regulated marijuana, 20% higher than the last poll conducted in 2005.

Independent U.H. economist David Nixon was commissioned to update a 2005 study on the state of marijuana law enforcement in Hawaii. He was asked to examine the costs of current law enforcement policies, and to predict the economic impacts if Hawaii were to decriminalize or legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Among his findings:

• Hawaii has seen a surge in marijuana arrests since 2004. Possession arrests have increased almost 50%, and distribution arrests have almost doubled.

• Hawaii’s marijuana laws overly impact males under the age of 25 and people of native Hawaiian descent. These groups were arrested in numbers disproportionate to their share of the population.

• By decriminalizing marijuana, Hawaii could redirect over $9 M annually in law enforcement costs.

• By legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana, Hawaii could conservatively add an additional estimated $11 M in yearly revenues.

Pam Lichty said: “From the survey findings, it’s clear that Hawaii voters are open to reconsidering local marijuana laws. The data in both of these reports will help our communities craft more effective, less costly approaches for the future. The Drug Policy Action Group, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and our allies will advocate for the policy reforms that people in Hawaii want.”

Vanessa Chong, Executive Director of the ACLU of Hawaii added: “In Hawaii as across the nation, arrests for marijuana possession are one of the most common ways that individuals get caught up in the criminal justice system, at great social and economic cost. These studies provide important, updated facts for the Hawaii community as we consider new directions.”

The Drug Policy Action Group, founded in 2004, is a sister organization to the 20 year old Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii. Its mission is to advocate for effective, non-punitive drug policies that minimize economic, social and human costs and to encourage pragmatic approaches based on science and concern for human dignity.

One comment on “Opinion poll on Hawaii marijuana laws

  1. RonM
    July 3, 2013

    To all who favor freedom,

    Our nation watches and the resolve builds to end Marijuana Prohibition in the United States of America.

    We have to keep the pressure on our government to decriminalize marijuana.

    Please sign the new whitehouse petition,

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/decriminalize-marijuana-and-pardon-all-marijuana-convictions-over-100000000-us-citizens-have-used/9Xsw4Dl9

    Decriminalize marijuana, and pardon all marijuana convictions. Over 100,000,000 U.S. Citizens have used marijuana.

    With over 500,000 marijuana arrests costing over $13 billion annually, and with more than half of U.S. Citizens favoring legalization the time is here to end marijuana prohibition.

    Marijuana prohibition is very costly to society, wasting billions of dollars and billions of hours in law enforcement, justice system and penal system time, it also destroys families and personal lives and futures.

    The effects of marijuana both physically and socially are less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, and adults should be entitled to make the decision whether or not to consume marijuana.

    It’s time to finally put an end to the criminalization of marijuana, This would not only allow our government to save billions of dollars, but could be a source of income and bring in billions of dollars in revenue.

    Please help to spread the word on any social media you can, we need this petition to go VIRAL!

    Thank you,

    RonM

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