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No more buzz for cannabis legalization in House Finance Committee : Maui Now

House Finance Chair and Upcountry Rep. Kyle Yamashita has announced that Senate Bill 3335, which would legalize personal adult use of cannabis, will not be heard in his committee. PC: Hawai’i House of Representatives – Majority / Facebook

A bill to legalize personal adult use of cannabis will not be heard in the House Finance Committee, said Chair Kyle Yamashita, who represents Upcountry Maui.

“The path to legalizing adult-use cannabis has been a deeply divisive issue,” he said in a released statement. “This year marked its furthest progression, with SB3335 narrowly passing its second reading. Due to numerous concerns regarding the implementation of the bill, the House has decided against further deliberation in the House Finance Committee. This decision is strengthened by the prevailing ‘no’ votes from committee members expressed on the House floor.”

Yamashita called this “an abnormally fiscally challenging year,” and said his committee must prioritize costs from the Aug. 8 wildfires in Lahaina and Upcountry.

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“During an abnormally fiscally challenging year, the committee must prioritize addressing wildfire-related expenses after the August 8 tragedy in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui. “Ensuring the recovery of our communities continues to come at an extraordinary cost to the state budget, and the full cost of implementing the legalization of adult-use cannabis is unknown. As lawmakers, it would be remiss of us not to allocate funding to safeguard critical government services, including education, infrastructure, roads, and other essential services for Hawaiʻi’s residents and kūpuna, especially during a period of fiscal uncertainty.”

The Finance Committee chair said: “We recognize that now is not the opportune time for its implementation, as we navigate the challenges of managing the largest wildfire recovery efforts in Hawaiʻi’s history.”

House Speaker Scott Saiki said: “In hearing the overwhelming testimony and serious concerns from members of Hawaiʻi’s law enforcement industry, this bill requires further consideration of the impact legislation will have on our children, economy, and overall well-being.”

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The move to hold the bill in committee kills the measure this session.

Source: Maui News

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