SB 3335 SD 2 Legalization Bill Summary

SB 3335 SD 2 Legalization Bill Summary

The Hawai’i Attorney General’s office drafted SB 3335, which would legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21+, with a focus on public safety. The AG’s office shifted its position on legalization from opposed to neither opposed nor supportive of that bill. While the bill has some positive features, including legalization itself, the inclusion of home cultivation and a social equity program, we have serious concerns about several aspects of it. It is overly focused on ramping up law enforcement and re-criminalizing innocuous conduct, and has far too little focus on equity. Senate committees amended the bill and addressed some of our concerns. However, changes are still needed to ensure it is rooted in equity and justice instead of an overly punitive approach that excessively ramps up law enforcement.

Here is a summary of key provisions of SB 3335, SD-2:

Personal Possession and Cultivation

  • Beginning January 1, 2026, the bill would allow adults 21 and older to:
    • possess up to one ounce of cannabis and five grams of concentrates.
    • cultivate up to six plants and to store up to 10 ounces of cannabis at home.
  • Personal cultivation:
    • may only occur in a secured place, not easily accessible to those under 21.
    • cannot be visible to the public without the use of technology.
    • is only allowed at one’s private residence, which does not include federal public housing, shelters, on-campus housing, and commercial housing.
    • regardless of the number of adults living in a residence, the total limit per residence is 10 plants and two pounds of harvested cannabis. 

New Penalties and Limitations

  • Creates an unscientific DUI law. Criminalizes adults for 10 nanograms per milliliter of THC in their system, an amount that can remain long after impairment wears off.  (As introduced, the limit was even worse, at five nanograms per milliliter.) Criminalizes those under 21 for having any amount of THC in their system, unless they are medical cannabis patients, in which the 10 nanogram standard applies.
  • Imposes up to 30 days in jail for anyone who possesses a cannabis package that has ever been opened, loose cannabis, or any pipe in the passenger area of a vehicle.
  • Prohibits consuming cannabis in any public place or a vehicle.
  • Cannabis must be stored in a “sealed child-resistant and resealable packaging with original labels and not easily accessible” to anyone under 21.
  • Requires “strict compliance” with the law.
  • Re-criminalizes possession of up to three grams of cannabis for those under 21, imposing a petty misdemeanor, which carries up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The current penalty is a $130 civil fine.
  • Does not require anyone who controls property to allow cannabis consumption, display, processing, or distribution. 
    However, landlords cannot prevent the possession or non-inhaled use of cannabis unless an exception applies, such as if the tenant is a roomer, the residence is transitional housing, or federal law requires otherwise. 

Non-Discrimination Protections

  • Professional and occupational licensees may not be subject to discipline by state or county boards for providing services to state-legal cannabis businesses.
  • Provides, “The use of adult-use cannabis alone shall not disqualify a person from any needed medical procedure or treatment, including organ and tissue transplants, unless in the judgment of the health care provider the use of cannabis increases the risk for an adverse outcome from the procedure or treatment.”
  • Includes non-discrimination protections for consumers related to child custody; state benefits, entitlements, and penalties; and revocation of parole, probation, and pre-trial release. (These were added based on the coalition’s feedback.)
    • Removes existing protections that prevent schools and landlords from penalizing medical cannabis patients unless federal law requires otherwise.
    • Weakens the existing law providing the medical use of cannabis doesn’t disqualify a patient from an organ transplant or other needed medical care.

Adult-Use Cannabis Market Regulations

  • Establishes the Hawaii Hemp and Cannabis Authority, governed by the Hemp Cannabis Control Board, to regulate hemp and cannabis businesses.
    • The governor-appointed board will have at least four members and will be part-time and unpaid.
    • The board will appoint an executive director, who must have experience in cannabis regulation or public health administration.
    • Staff will include the following full-time positions: an executive secretary, a hemp coordinator, a chief financial officer, general counsel, and chiefs of technology, compliance, equity, public health, and environment.
    • Establishes a 15-member Cannabis Control Implementation Committee.

Cannabis Business Licensing

  • Provides for licensing of cannabis cultivators, processors, medical dispensaries, retail (adult-use) dispensaries, craft dispensaries, and independent laboratories.
    • The board may adopt rules for permits for special events, social consumption, and trucking permits.
  • A person may only have an interest in nine total licenses, and three in a license class.
  • Cultivation facilities cannot exceed 2,000 square feet indoors and 5,000 outdoors.
  • The board sets application and licensing fees, which may vary based on volume.


  • Provides that arrest and criminal records for an offense that is permitted or decriminalized by the law, “including the possession of marijuana, shall be ordered to be expunged in accordance with the provisions of this section.”
  • Beginning January 1, 2026, allows for petition-based expungement for the above, and allows for petitions to review sentences.
    (The introduced version did not include any expungement or sentencing review. It only included a provision for an eventual report.)

Additional Law Enforcement

  • Creates a new cannabis enforcement unit in the Department of Law Enforcement, and adds positions in a drug nuisance abatement unit in the AG’s office.
  • As introduced, it added a total of 25 positions (17 to the DLE unit and seven in the AG’s unit), but the figures are now blank to allow for further discussion.

Taxation and Revenue Allocation

  • Imposes a 14% retail tax on cannabis, in addition to regular state GET taxes (4%).
    • Medical cannabis will continue to be taxed at a 4% rate.
  • Allocates 50% percent of the tax revenue to the cannabis regulation, nuisance abatement, and law enforcement special fund established by the bill.
  • Allocates 50% percent of the tax revenue to the new cannabis social equity, public health and education, and public safety special fund.
  • In fiscal year 2024-2025, appropriates to-be-determined amounts to the department of taxation; the cannabis regulation, nuisance abatement, and law enforcement special fund; and the cannabis social equity, public health and education, and public safety special fund.