A Hawaii Senate committee on Tuesday held a hearing on a bill to legalize marijuana—with multiple state agencies weighing in on the proposal in testimony.
The legislation from Sen. Joy San Buenaventura (D) was discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s one of two key legalization measures that advocates are tracking this session.
Members of the committee heard from a range of supporters and opponents on SB 669 on Tuesday, with the chair indicating that a vote could come on Thursday.
At the hearing, some witnesses raised concerns that the legislation goes too far in prioritizing existing medical cannabis licensees, and that it has a lack of equity provisions.
The state attorney general’s office submitted testimony opposing the reform, arguing that its enactment would conflict with federal law and that more time is needed to develop comprehensive regulations for the market.
“The Department has serious law enforcement concerns regarding preventing unlicensed activity, and notes that the bill has several provisions that could present confusion on what is intended to be permitted,” the attorney general’s office said.
The state Office of the Public Defender, meanwhile, voiced support for the legalization bill, pointing out that a “marijuana market already
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