If state Representatives Joe Souki, D-Wailuku, and Angus McKelvey, D-Lahaina, get their way, Hawaii will become a pot dealer to the world. Or at least, those select portions of the world that look upon marijuana as no more dangerous than alcohol. Call it a get-rich-quick scheme, an outlandish violation of the federal government’s prohibition against marijuana sales or just a gateway bill to state cannabis legalization, but HB 2124 is a high-profile assault in our nation’s Weed War.
Introduced by Representative Rida Cabanilla, D-Ewa Beach, and co-sponsored by 10 others, including Souki and McKelvey, the bill’s abstract says that it “Creates a working group in the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to develop a plan to legalize the cultivation of marijuana for export purposes only and tax the resulting revenues for purposes of funding state programs.”
This could, according to Cabanilla, directly and positively benefit Maui as well. Maybe. “I’m not a marijuana connoisseur, so I really could not say on my personal experience, but what people say is that the ‘Maui Wowie’ is the best,” Cabanilla said in a Jan. 25 Associated Press story on the bill.
Now if the bill passes (a big if), and if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) goes along with it (a far bigger if), Hawaii would start growing marijuana for export to nations like Uruguay and the Czech Republic, according to that Jan. 25 AP story. Or at least, that’s what the bill drafters had hoped, but it seems that those two nations are iffy, too. “Uruguay plans to grow its own marijuana and the Czech Republic is only allowing imports from the Netherlands,” reported the AP.
Stupid Netherlands, strutting around Europe like it’s the biggest dope dealer around (oh wait, it is). Anyhoo, the bill text includes logic, rational economic analysis and even a bit of Hawaiian mythology–in other words, it has no chance of becoming reality. Still, it could happen, and that’s more than enough reason to actually read the bill.
“Hawaii is well situated to provide an abundant supply to fill a growing demand,” states the bill. “The rich Hawaiian soils, coupled with a continually temperate climate, provide ideal conditions for year-round outdoor farming. These advantages should be capitalized upon for the benefit of enhancing revenue for the State.”
As for where all those potential tax revenues from dealing pot to other nations might go, the bill outlines four entities: “the department of education, to fund mandatory pre-school; the department of health, for care of the elderly and disabled, specifically for increased payments for care home and foster home operators; Hawaii public housing authority, for the construction of more state-owned public housing; and the Hawaii housing finance and development corporation for the construction of affordable housing.”
Is this not the best bill ever written? And I haven’t even given you the money quote yet:
“The Goddess Pele has provided Hawaii with the best soil in the nation for marijuana cultivation,” states the bill. “[I]t should be capitalized upon for the good of her people.”
On Jan. 23, HB 2124 was referred to three House committees. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess.
Photo: Jorge Barrios/Wikimedia Commons