There are famous strains of marijuana named after the Aloha State: Maui Wowie, Kona Gold, Kauai Electric. Yet, the drug remains illegal in Hawaii. Both locally and nationally, marijuana legalization has been gaining traction, but it hasn't happened yet in Hawaii.
Colorado and Washington famously made national news in 2012 when they ended their prohibitions on marijuana in landmark referendums. Hawaii seemed like a natural state to take the same step. Residents have a reputation for both growing quality "pakalolo," and smoking it: according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, Hawaii has the 10th highest marijuana usage rate in the nation among those 18 and older.
Sure enough, in 2013 state Legislature introduced five bills to either legalize or decriminalize weed—reducing possession from a petty misdemeanor to a civil fine, essentially removing jail time for offenders. But the high didn’t last long. All the bills were defeated.
Hawaii Marijuana Laws/Penalties
Marijuana remains a crime in Hawaii. Indeed, many tourists and Hawaii residents are slapped with fines or jailed. Authorities continue to enforce criminal marijuana laws, as detailed in the table below:
||329-14, et seq.; 712-1240, et seq.
|Possession for Personal Use
Possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000.
Possession of 1 ounce or more but less than 1 pound is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine.
||Possession of 25 or more marijuana plants or possession of 1 lb. or more of anything containing marijuana: Class C felony; 2 lbs. or more: Class B felony; 25 lbs. or more: Class A felony; Possession of over 100 plants: Class A felony; Distribution of any small amount or possession of any small amount: misdemeanor
||Sale of any amount: Class C felony; 1 lb. or more: Class B felony; 5 lbs. or more: Class A felony
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Hawaii criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Law
Medical marijuana, meanwhile, is permitted in Hawaii. Qualifying patients are permitted to possess three ounces of usable medical marijuana. Home cultivation allows no more than seven marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature. There are no state-licensed dispensaries. Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana include:
- Chronic pain
- Crohn's disease
- Epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures
- HIV or AIDS
- Multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity
Hawaii Marijuana Laws: Related Resources
State drug laws, and their enforcement, are constantly changing, and can vary depending on the jurisdiction and specifics of your case. If you think you might need help with a drug addiction or substance abuse problem, your first step is to ask for help. If you would like legal assistance with an existing drug case, or if you would just like to know your rights, you can contact a Hawaii drug crime attorney in your area.