If there's one thing Hawaii is famous for in the weed world, it's gotta be Maui Wowie. Smoking this tropical sativa will send you right to the shores of Kaanapali Beach with your best friend Willie Nelson. All you'll need is the coconut and pineapple.
Hawaii's weed culture is a distinctive one. The small island state in the middle of the Pacific has continued to be one of America's leaders in marijuana reform, especially when it comes to medical marijuana. Now, over 57% of Hawaiians support legalization. How can you blame them? The sunshine, the waves, the volcanoes: it's a stoner's paradise.
Medical Marijuana in Hawaii
Way back in 2000, Hawaii became one of the first states in the US to legalize medical marijuana. The state was, in fact, the first to pass medical marijuana through state legislation. The 2000 bill allowed patients to grow their own plants and cultivate it themselves, restricting them to seven plants and four ounces of usable marijuana at any given time. Patients with ailments including cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, and others are all covered and protected under the state's laws. As of 2016, there are 15,334 medical marijuana patients in Hawaii.
Up until 2016, though, Hawaii never had a dispensary system. Last year was, in fact, a big year for medical marijuana in Hawaii. In May, Hawaii approved eight dispensary applications. The eight dispensaries are spread out across multiple islands including The Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. The state also passed legislation entitled HB 2707, which strengthens the state's medical program by creating a legislative oversight group to develop and recommend legislation for the legalization process. This bill will ensure that Hawaii's medical marijuana regulations stay up to date.
Recreational Marijuana in Hawaii
One area the state could definitely use some help is with decriminalization. Even though bud has been apart of Hawaii's culture for years, the plant is by no means legal in the state. If you're caught with anything less than an ounce, you could spend up to 30 days in jail and pay fines of up to $1,000.
So, why hasn't Hawaii just pulled the trigger and legalized it already? Hawaii's biggest hurdle in decriminalizing marijuana is actually built into the state's government. Remember how I told you that Hawaii was the first state to pass medical marijuana through state legislation? Well, it turns out, that was that only way that Hawaii could do it. The Hawaiian state government has no provision allowing public referendums to overturn current laws. The reason why states like Colorado and Washington were able to legalize marijuana so quickly is because they let the people vote on it. Hawaii, on the other hand, has to deal with its slow moving bureaucracy to pass any changes.
Maybe Hawaii needs to allow public referendums to get things moving? Maybe the government should just rip off the Band-Aid and legalize and regulate it themselves? With or without marijuana decriminalization, Hawaii will always be a stoner's paradise. With bud like Maui Wowie, how could it not be?