By Anthony Martinelli

Hawaii’s Senate has advanced legislation that would make marijuana legal for those 21 and older.

According to the Hawaii Legislature’s official website, Senate Bill 2683 was introduced on Friday and “Passed First Reading” yesterday. The measure was filed by Senator Kalani English (D) and is cosponsored by Senators Russell Ruderman (D), Brickwood Galuteria (D) and Gil Keithagaran (D). The proposal “Legalizes the personal use, possession, and sale of marijuana in a specified quantity”. It “Requires licensing to operate marijuana establishments”, and “Subjects marijuana establishments to excise taxes and income taxes.”

Senate Bill 2683 being passed through its first reading comes on the same day as Vermont officially becoming the ninth state to legalize marijuana, and the first to ever to do through their legislature and governor (rather than through the initiative process). It also comes less than six months after Hawaii’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened its doors, which was made possible through legislation approved by lawmakers in 2015 (a vote that came 15 years after the state initially legalized medical cannabis).

Senate Bill 2683 must now be passed through several committees and readings in the Senate and House of Representatives before it can be sent to Governor David Ige for consideration.

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