ACLU of Hawaiʻi Statement on Cannabis Reform Bill

In Hawai’i and throughout the United States, there is increasing support for comprehensive drug reform, including cannabis legalization. Yet, too many people continue to be arrested and convicted for marijuana possession, needlessly entangling them in the criminal legal system that can ruin lives and disproportionately affects Native Hawaiians and communities of color.

The ACLU of Hawaiʻi supports comprehensive equitable policies to legalize, tax, and regulate adult use of cannabis. These reforms redress the devastating effects of marijuana prohibition policies.

As highlighted by the Hawai’i Correctional System Oversight Commission, Hawaiʻi’s jails and prisons are severely overcrowded.  Too many people with minor drug related convictions are living in inhumane conditions of confinement and are separated from loved ones, here in Hawai’i and in private for-profit prisons thousands of miles away. 

Along with the harm of incarceration a minor drug possession charge has long term negative ripple effects. Having a marijuana conviction on your record can make it hard to get a job, a credit card, or find housing for the rest of your life.  This is why clearing people’s records of marijuana convictions is a necessary addition to this legalization measure.

We would like to applaud Representative Kapela and other lawmakers for co-sponsoring this sensible legislation.

This measure is a starting point to ensure a diverse and inclusive legal cannabis industry. It provides a process for people unjustly convicted of marijuana-related charges to adjust their sentences.  In addition, creates a pathway for reinvestment in communities devastated by disproportionate arrests for drug possession and mass incarceration.

These reforms help us reduce racial disparities in our criminal legal system, and create new opportunities for agriculture and economic development in Hawai’i. By regulating cannabis, we can raise millions of dollars of revenue for essential services like schools and proven crime prevention programs that put community safety first.

– George Cordero, Legal and Legislative Assistant

Cannabis Legalization Bill Town Hall (WATCH)

Advisory for event on Monday at 5:30 p.m. HST

Contact: DeVaughn Ward

Hawaii Organizations to Host Town Hall on Legalization Bill 

Honolulu, HI — On Monday, the Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Forum Hawaii, ACLU Hawaii, and the Last Prisoner Project will be joined by Rep. Jeanné Kapela (5th District) to hold a town hall to discuss SB 669, a legalization measure that recently passed the Hawaii Senate.

The groups will provide details of what is included in the bill, such as expungement, home cultivation rights for adults 21 and older, and new licensing opportunities for more cannabis businesses, as well as where areas for improvements remain.

WHAT: Town Hall on Cannabis Legalization Bill
WHEN: Monday, March 13, 5:30 p.m. HST
WHERE: You can tune into the town hall on MPP's Facebook page 
WHO: The Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Forum Hawaii, ACLU Hawaii, the Last Prisoner Project, and Rep. Jeanné Kapela 

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The Hawaii Alliance for Cannabis Reform is a coalition of citizens, organizations, and community leaders working to end marijuana prohibition in Hawaii and replace it with a system in which marijuana is not only regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol but also provides retroactive relief for those harmed by its prohibition. For more information, visit

Cannabis Legalization Town Hall
Cannabis Legalization Bill Town Hall (WATCH HERE)

Watch the Town Hall on Cannabis Legalization Bill SB669 HERE:

Originally Broadcast Live on The Marijuana Policy Project's Facebook Page on March 13, 2023.

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