1st hearing for HB 699 to legalize, regulate marijuana set for F. 2/1/13
The House Judiciary Committee will be hearing HB 699, a bill that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in Hawaii. The hearing is taking place this Friday, February 1, 2013. Please take time to submit testimony in strong support of this bill by this Thursday, January 31. Talking points, links to the bill, emails, etc, are all below.
Bill Name and Number: Relating to Marijuana – HB 699
What this bill does: Authorizes adults 21 years and older to possess or consume 1 ounce or less of marijuana for personal use. Also provides for the licensing of marijuana cultivation and stores that are taxed and regulated.
Two ways to submit testimony:
1) By Email: E-mail if less than 5 pages in length, to the House Judiciary Committee at JUDtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov. Please indicate the measure, date and time of the hearing (see below). Email sent to individual offices or any other office will not be accepted.
2) By Web: Online if less than 4MB in size, at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony
USE THE FOLLOWING HEADER:
To: Rep. Karl Rhodes, Chair
Rep. Sharon Har, Vice Chair
From: (Your Name)
RE: Relating to Marijuana – HB 699
Hearing: Friday, February 1, 2013, Room 325
Position: Strong SupportWrite your own reasons for your support of taxation and regulation of marijuana in Hawaii. It is always a good idea to use your personal experiences and stories. You may also use two or three of the talking points I’ve provided below.Talking Points:
Taxing and regulating makes economic sense for Hawai‘i(1):
- It would save $12 million a year in marijuana law enforcement costs.
- It would bring in at least $11.3 million a year in tax revenue.
- Legalizing marijuana for adults will undercut dangerous drug cartels which sell millions of dollars in marijuana on the black market.
Prohibition has failed:
- Marijuana use is mainstream and widespread. More than 106 million Americans have tried it and every year more than 80% of high school students say it’s easy to obtain (per Monitoring the Future survey.)
Prohibition makes control impossible:
- Producers and sellers of marijuana are completely unregulated unlike sellers of tobacco and alcohol.
- There are no quality controls for purity or potency.
Taxing and regulating marijuana allows police to spend money on serious and violent crimes(1):
- In Hawai‘i, marijuana arrests for possession have increased 50% since 2004.
- Arrests for distribution have almost doubled since 2004.
- Costs and law enforcement time spent on these could be used for more serious drug offenses like Hawaii’s methamphetamine problem or in addressing violent crimes.
Hawaii’s marijuana laws are enforced unevenly(1):
- There is no evidence that any specific gender or ethnic group uses marijuana more than another group, but arrest data in Hawai‘i show a different story:
- Males are 50% more likely to be arrested than females
- Juveniles are 70% more likely to be arrested.
- Native Hawaiians are 70% more likely to be arrested than non-native Hawaiians.
- Filipinos are 30% more likely to be arrested than non-Filipinos.
- Non-Oahu residents are 40-140% more likely to be arrested for possession than Oahu residents.
- Convicted marijuana offenders:
- Are denied federal student aid.
- Lose their professional licenses.
- Encounter barriers to employment, housing, and adoption.
- These penalties disproportionately affect young, low income, and minority individuals.
- While people who are convicted of marijuana related offenses are denied federal student aid, people convicted of violent crimes remain eligible.
- Arrests for marijuana possession are one of the most common ways that people get caught up in the criminal justice system.
- Marijuana users who are not convicted have gone on to be President or a Supreme Court justice.
Legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for personal use will not increase youth consumption:
- Selling to minors (under 21) will remain illegal.
- Young people now have easy access to marijuana since drug dealers don’t check IDs.
- Placing marijuana under strict regulatory control may actually decrease youth access here in Hawai‘i since regulated businesses could lose their license if they sell to minors while illegal dealers have no incentive not to sell to kids.
Hawai‘i residents support the taxation and regulation of marijuana(2):
- In a December 2012 poll, 57% of registered voters in Hawai‘i support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for personal use.
- 76% believe police should focus their time on violent crimes and fighting the ice/methamphetamine problem in Hawai‘i.
Laws against driving while intoxicated and other anti-social behaviors will remain in place.
- The current bill keeps penalties in place for those driving under the influence of marijuana.
- The current bill does not allow for marijuana consumption in public places.
- All forms of advertising will be prohibited.
1 – Nixon, David. Update to: Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Decriminalization in Hawai’i. Public Policy Center: University of Hawai’i, Dec 2012. http://acluhawaii.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/econreptmarijuana1_2013.pdf
2 – QMark Research & Polling. November 19 –December 4, 2012. Survey of 603 adults statewide, MOE +/-4% http://acluhawaii.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/dpagmarijuanapolicyfindings.pdf