Hawaii Poll Shows Majority Supports Marijuana Legalization

A poll released last Thursday shows 57% of Hawaiians favor the idea of taxing and regulating marijuana. That's a startling 20% increase in support in just seven years -- a 2005 poll by the same group asking the same question had only 37% support.

The QMark Research poll was conducted for the Drug Policy Action Group and consisted of telephone interviews with 603 respondents. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.07%.

The poll showed 45% strongly supporting tax and regulate, with another 12% saying they had "somewhat strong support." Only 40% opposed legalization, a figure that has declined by 20 points since the 2005 poll.

The poll also found strong support for decriminalization (58%), for medical marijuana dispensaries (78%), and for the medical marijuana law passed by the legislature in 2000 (81%). The law allows patients to use marijuana, but makes no provision for them to obtain it except by growing it.

The poll numbers were released at a press conference conducted by the Drug Policy Action Group, a sister organization to the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and the ACLU of Hawaii. Also introduced at the press conference was a study (available at the poll link above) by University of Hawaii economist David Nixon on the economic impact of marijuana law enforcement in the state.

Nixon found that Hawaii spends $9 million a year on marijuana law enforcement and foregoes $11 million a year in potential revenues under legalization. He also found that marijuana arrests are increasing in the state, with possession arrests up nearly 50% since 2004 and distribution arrests almost doubling.

"From the survey findings, it's clear that Hawaii voters are open to reconsidering local marijuana laws," said the Action Group's Pam Lichty. "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 ACLU of Hawaii, and our allies will advocate for the policy reforms that people in Hawaii want."

"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," said Vanessa Chong, executive director of the ACLU of Hawaii. "These studies provide important, updated facts for the Hawaii community as we consider new directions."

Honolulu, HI
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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People who live in Hawaii, and Italy

People who live in Hawaii are not Hawaiians. You need to change your headline.It would be a good idea to contact the OHA and ask what they think on cannabis legalization.

this may not even get read by

this may not even get read by the state reps. that support or are open to such ideas for hawaii - but every state is a learning curve for legalization, since hawaii has medicinal were discussing recreational and market ventures.
I believe Hawaii has a unique opportunity, even amongst all the other states to stand out, or even a step above, the rest.
Hawaii is already a major tourist attraction, great if not ideal, tropical environment, weather conditions
and as a result will produce premium results and quality products both internally and externally.

first i think all legislation blocking such ventures are top priority in preventing self defeat : like ancient anti racketeering laws etc...to understand the issue competently instead of offering a bunch of good, or even great, ideas just to have it trampled by outside interests, through internal proxy groups.
there are some very attractive business models, that are essentially, above and beyond "the markets norms" legislatively, economically and socially - keeping the clients and customers as a first priority collectively, rather than the indignation of philosophical politics and do it aggressively in banking and redistribution.
the bottom line numbers are in a whole other market - if you build it, they will come.


Lived in Hawaii for few

Lived in Hawaii for few years, good to be back in America again.

MMJ in Hawaii is a joke, not a single dispensary for patients to facilitate safe access. Cannabis is scarce and most of the people providing the 'medicine' are sketchy at best. The uptick in the support for cannabis legalization is mostly due to the recent changes in Washington and Colorado law (people of Hawaii don't lead, they mostly follow).

My experience with the island culture was that they are slow to change as their isolation insulates them from any meaningful timely reform. Most of the people I encountered were resistant to change or progress, mostly clutching onto the life they currently lead while being fearful of any change that will take their simple life away. Island fever is not why most people end up leaving - life becomes too simple to be interesting.

Cannabis use is frowned upon by most of the Japanese and Chinese people in positions within government (Filipino, Samoan and other Pacific Islanders have been relegated to the labor force). Not to mention that there is a very large Christian presence (a church on almost every city block in Honolulu - even the Mormons have a compound on Oahu) that are still demonizing the beneficial herb. Most people in Hawaii are wary of questioning their religious beliefs or leaders.

Strangely, the Hawaiian climate would allow 365.25 days of growing cannabis and hemp. Cannabis could become the island state's number one source of revenue since agriculture is at best a dying industry. Shipping containers arrive full (commodities from Japan, China and USA) and depart either empty of filled with trash bound for California (if it's not burned in the many incinerators that provide power). They could export cannabis flowers, seeds and raw hemp in those empty shipping containers headed back to civilization.

Hawaii isn't really relevant politically. I suspect Hawaii will languish along with Texas in making any meaningful reforms concerning cannabis. I hope that I am wrong.

People who live in Hawaii are

People who live in Hawaii are not Hawaiians. You need to change your headline.It would be a good idea to contact the OHA and ask what they think on cannabis legalization.


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