Hawaii residents support legalizing marijuana, survey finds

Published: Jan. 11, 2013 at 4:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An increasing number of Hawaii voters say they are okay with people using marijuana and believe the state should legalize it, according to a new poll by the Drug Policy Action Group.

A survey of 600 residents on Maui, Oahu and Kauai found 78 percent support a dispensary system for medical marijuana. The survey also finds 69 percent of participants believe that jail time for marijuana offenses is inappropriate, and 57 percent favor legalized, taxed and regulated marijuana.

These findings are 20 percent higher than the last poll conducted 2005.

University of Hawaii economist, David Nixon, was also asked to look at the costs of current law enforcement policies and to predict the economic impact of decriminalizing it. He found that the state and county government could save $9 million every year by legalizing marijuana.

It would add an estimated $11 million in yearly revenues if properly taxed, Nixon says.

The findings can help communities craft more effective and less costly approaches for the future, survey organizers say.

The Honolulu Police Department says it is opposed to the legalization, decriminalization, and medicinal use of marijuana.

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