The legislature of Hawaii this week approved a non-binding resolution encouraging the governor to create a clemency program for prior cannabis convictions.
On April 24, 2023 the Hawaii Senate adopted a measure – already passed earlier this month by the House – urging Governor Josh Green to initiate a clemency program for people who have been prosecuted for cannabis-related offenses (1,2).
The measure opened with declarations on how the criminalization of cannabis possession has negatively affected certain populations, mass incarcerations, and has deprived people of higher education, housing, employment and the right to vote (1).
The measure noted President Biden’s 2022 pardon of cannabis convictions and his encouragement of governors to the same, and also listed the US states that have already implemented expungement or clemency of arrest records in some form (1).
The measure stated that two advocacy groups, The Last Prisoner Project (LPP) and Hawaii Innocence Project, are prepared to assist Green in facilitating a clemency program (1).
Last month a bill to legalize cannabis in the state of Hawaii passed the Senate, but stalled in the House (2).
“However, Governor Green still has the ability to create a pathway to relief for individuals whose continued incarceration is no longer in the interests of justice,” LPP Senior Policy Associate Frank Stiefel said (2). “The establishment of a dedicated cannabis clemency program would be a crucial first step in addressing the harm caused by decades of failed drug policies. We hope that this resolution will spark some action by Governor Green and we look forward to supporting his office as they roll out a cannabis clemency program.”
Interested in firsthand accounts of medical cannabis in Hawaii? Read about veterans and cannabis farming Cannabis Patient Care’s interview with CARE Waialua and check out how the Sugano family treats Dravet syndrome.