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Bill Seeks Cultivation and Export of Marijuana from Hawaiʻi

January 23, 2014, 11:09 AM HST · Updated January 24, 6:58 AM
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Hawai’i Island police dismantled an underground bunker marijuana-growing operation in Puna and arrested two individuals at the Glenwood home after serving a search warrant on Thursday. Police described the building as a sophisticated operation measuring 40 by 80 feet, and containing more than 500 marijuana plants. Photo courtesy Hawaii Police Department.

Hawai’i Island police dismantled an underground bunker marijuana-growing operation in Puna and arrested two individuals at the Glenwood home after serving a search warrant in March 2013. Police described the building as a sophisticated operation measuring 40 by 80 feet, and containing more than 500 marijuana plants. Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi Police Department.

By Wendy Osher

A bill introduced at the state Legislature is aimed at developing a plan for the cultivation and export of marijuana in Hawaiʻi for sale in foreign jurisdictions where usage is legal.

Representative Rida Cabanilla of Ewa Beach, who introduced House Bill 2124, issued a statement saying cultivation would be for export purposes only, with the tax from revenue used for funding state programs.

The text of the bill states that tax revenues can be divided between four state entities including the following:

  • “Department of Education, to fund mandatory pre-school;
  • Department of Health, for care of the elderly and disabled, specifically for increased payments for care home and foster home operators;
  • Hawaii Public Housing Authority, for the construction of more state-owned public housing; and
  • Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation for the construction of affordable housing.”
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Under the bill, the working group would be established by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism in consultation with the Department of Agriculture.

The group would be tasked with providing rules for: cultivation of marijuana for export; production of associated products; and transport. The plan would be submitted to the Legislature prior to the 2015 regular session, under the current version of the bill.

“Commercial cultivation and distribution of marijuana is a bold approach toward generating revenue while capitalizing on Hawaii’s inherent strengths,” said Rep. Cabanilla in a press release.

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“Hawaii’s rich soil, coupled with its temperate climate, provide ideal conditions for year-round farming and cultivation. Hawaiʻi is well situated to provide an abundant supply of quality marijuana to fill a growing international demand,” said Cabanilla.

Maui lawmakers who were identified as supporters of the bill included House Speaker Joe Souki who is a primary introducer, and Rep. Angus McKelvey who is a co-sponsor.

Earlier this week, Speaker Souki voiced his support for marijuana dispensaries during his opening address before the Legislature.

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