Legislators in the state of Hawaii have passed a measure urging the governor to establish a clemency program for individuals with previous cannabis convictions on their records. The measure, which was approved by the House earlier last month, was championed by Representative Jeanné Kapela.
The legislation states that the prosecution of marijuana offenses has deprived many of access to housing, higher education, individual liberty, the right to vote, and employment, with the overall drug war destroying indigenous, immigrant and low-income communities. It also calls attention to the mass pardon issued by President Joseph Biden in October 2022 for persons with simple federal marijuana possession offenses. In addition, it mentions that some states have legalized cannabis and included expungement pathways for previous convictions.
LPP Senior Policy Associate Frank Stiefel argues that setting up a clemency program would be an important first step in addressing the harms caused by failed policies implemented as a result of the war on drugs The measure also encourages Governor Josh Green to work with advocacy groups such as the Hawaii Innocence Project and The Last Prisoner Project.
Earlier in November, the governor announced that he’d sign a legislation to legalize marijuana for adults, adding that he had ideas on how taxes from cannabis sales could be used. Despite this, the state has yet to legalize the recreational use of marijuana after an adult-use marijuana legalization measure that was approved in the Senate ultimately stalled in the House.
Legislators hope to enact the reform in the second half of the two-year legislative session. That hope was strengthened after the AG announced that her office would not oppose cannabis legalization anymore and would, instead, liaise with stakeholders and legislators to help advance reform. Attorney General Anne Lopez revealed that her office would develop a comprehensive regulatory legislative package that could be attached to any measure to legalize cannabis.
Additionally, the state was the first in the country to legalize medical cannabis in 2000. More than a decade later, the law was expanded to include a regulated cultivation and dispensary system. With an already established medical cannabis system, recreational use is not far behind.
In other news, the state’s senate passed a resolution to establish an advisory council to explore regulations on access to breakthrough treatments such as MDMA and psilocybin for mental health conditions. The resolution from Representative Adrian Tam would also evaluate FDA breakthrough therapies within three months of the substance receiving its designation.
As states such as Hawii move to expand their marijuana laws beyond medical marijuana, several companies, including IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC). are investing research dollars with the aim of bringing to market cannabis-based medicines that meet the strict requirements of the FDA so that more people can access these treatments even if the jurisdictions in which they live don’t permit the use of marijuana.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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