Hawaii Gov. Signs Marijuana Expungements Bill to Launch Pilot Program

Hawaii Gov. Signs Marijuana Expungements Bill to Launch Pilot Program

Hawaii Governor Josh Green has signed HB 1595 into law, initiating a pilot program in Hawaii County to expunge non-conviction marijuana arrest records. This single-county initiative aims to clear certain past offenses, with broader expungement-focused legislation on the horizon.

The measure, originally introduced by Rep. David Tarnas, was scaled back from a statewide plan to a county-specific pilot due to budgetary constraints highlighted by Attorney General Anne Lopez. The program will serve as a model to determine the resources needed for larger-scale expungement efforts.

Supporters, including Tarnas, see the pilot as a significant first step towards wider cannabis record clearance. “Lessons learned from this experience will help expand the expungement effort statewide,” Tarnas said.

Advocates, including the Last Prisoner Project, praised the bill’s passage despite the legislature’s failure to legalize marijuana this session. They view the pilot program as a victory and a move towards broader justice.

Additionally, a Clean Slate Expungement Task Force bill, SB 2706, awaits action from Governor Green, who has until July 10 to sign it. This task force will craft legislation for a state-led record-clearing program, with marijuana offenses expected to be included.

Governor Green remains supportive of full recreational legalization and proposes expanding Hawaii’s medical cannabis system to include a broader range of health concerns, maintaining safety for minors while increasing accessibility for adults.

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