Hawaii has had a tough time implementing its medical marijuana laws, but they are finally in place and the program will expand over time. In fact, the island hosted the International Cannabis Business Conference last weekend and a state senator discussed recreational marijuana.
During the conference, State Senator Will Espero addressed the crowd during his keynote speech predicting that recreational marijuana would be legal in the next 3 to 5 years. Representative Tulsi Gabbard also discussed the banking problems that the cannabis industry is facing.
The Kauai conference drew around 500 attendees, according to Rogers, and many of them had flown in from states and nations with progressive marijuana laws. Attendance at a midday panel on foreign cannabis law was notably sparse, a sign that the event was viewed by some marijuana entrepreneurs as an opportunity to justify a Hawaii vacation as a business expense writeoff.
Those who did make it to the first day of panels were welcomed Saturday by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who appeared in a pre-recorded video played on twin projectors.
“Our outdated policies are having devastating effects on individuals and communities all across the country,” said Gabbard. “They’ve turned everyday Americans into criminals, torn apart families and wasted huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate people for nonviolent marijuana charges.”
A proponent of federal marijuana decriminalization, Gabbard said she wants to make it easier for cannabis companies to work within the banking system. She also voiced support for measures that could jumpstart the industrial hemp industry, such as erasing hemp’s controlled substance classification.
In his keynote address, state Sen. Will Espero called conference-goers pioneers, evoking American greats like John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison. Espero predicted that marijuana would be legal for adult recreational use in Hawaii within the next three to five years.
It took a long time for Hawaii to finally adopt its medical marijuana program. Do you think that Hawaii is ready for adult-use recreational marijuana, or is State Sen. Espero being optimistic?