Hawaii Cannabis Expungement & Felonies

Hawaii Cannabis Expungement & Felonies

Discover comprehensive insights into the Hawaii cannabis expungement process through these detailed and informative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

How did Hawaii handle expungements for cannabis?

Hawaii is in the process of legislating around expungements for cannabis-related offenses. Here’s a breakdown based on the recent legislative activities:

  • Senate Bill 1043 (SB1043): This bill for the year 2023 decriminalizes and legalizes personal use, possession, and sale of cannabis in specified quantities. Importantly, it entitles certain individuals to the expungement of their arrest and conviction records for specific marijuana offenses unless the prosecutor can demonstrate a particular cause against it​.
  • Senate Bill 669 (SB669): Approved by the Hawaii Senate, this bill includes provisions for the expungement of some marijuana-related convictions. It aims to legalize the possession, transfer, and transportation of up to 30 grams of cannabis by adults aged 21 and older. This bill also reduces the penalties for unlicensed cannabis cultivation and sales​​.
  • Senate Bill 375 (SB375): This bill establishes that possession of cannabis by an adult in the amount of four ounces or less without a prescription shall be lawful and mandates that all convictions for such acts be expunged. It proposes the creation of the Hawaii Cannabis Authority within the Department of Health to regulate responsible adult use of cannabis in the state​​.

All felonies? Only non-violent?

Hawaii allows for expunging convictions for first-time, drug-related offenses, including felonies, under certain conditions​.

  • The court must determine that the “person is nonviolent, and therefore, a violent felony would likely disqualify the expungement.

Were there any crimes related to cannabis that disqualified someone from applying as a social equity applicant?

Currently, there is no state-run social equity program. Current disqualifiers for general ownership in cannabis licensure include:

  • A felony conviction.
  • A conviction related to the use, possession, or distribution of drugs or intoxicating compounds.
  • A conviction for a crime involving violence.
  • A conviction for a crime involving a firearm.
  • A conviction for a crime involving theft, or business, or commercial fraud.

Status of Current Social Equity Program:

Hawaii does not currently have a social equity program for cannabis licensing. Unlike some states that have provisions to support individuals and communities historically impacted by cannabis prohibition, Hawaii has not established such initiatives at the state level. There are no fee waivers, reductions, or state-level funding to support medical cannabis licensees who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. Additionally, Hawaii does not offer any licensing priority or set-asides for these individuals.

Furthermore, Hawaii’s medical cannabis framework includes disqualifications for licensure and industry employment based on certain convictions. This includes felony convictions and convictions related to the use, possession, or distribution of drugs, among other offenses. There is no exemption for cannabis offenses in this context, which means that individuals with a history of cannabis-related convictions are barred from participating in the medical cannabis industry as licensees or employees

How Can Point Seven Group Help?

The team of cannabis consultants and professionals at Point Seven Group have worked extensively in the U.S. and international cannabis markets and are familiar with the unique challenges of the cannabis industry. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with more cannabis industry updates!

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