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Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa

Representing the 1st District of Hawaii

Hanabusa: Marijuana Regulation is a States' Rights Issue

April 20, 2018
Press Release

As many Americans celebrate 4/20, we must recognize that times have changed and the regulation of marijuana is a states’ rights issue.

More than half of our country’s population lives in a place where marijuana is legal for recreational or medicinal use. Hawaii is one of 21 states that permit medical use and the Hawaii Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program covers more than 19,000 patients and issued licenses to eight dispensaries.

This is growing sector of our local economy that is creating jobs. It has the potential to generate significant new revenue and opportunities for other industries, like agriculture.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and some members of the Trump Administration would like to continue to demonize the flower rather than accept reality and embrace the opportunities. Congress must act to protect states’ rights.

If Hawaii wants to generate new revenue to help pay for government programs and services by legalizing marijuana for recreational use the legislature must explore regulation and enact policies and procedures to ensure public safety.

What Congress and the Trump administration must not do, is send mixed signals to a rapidly emerging market and leave thousands of business owners, legal users and patients in legal and financial limbo.

That is unacceptable.