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Hawaii Laws and Programs

  • By: Sarah E. Murray
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Distinguished as the birthplace of President Barack Obama, and historically heralded as a natural paradise, Hawaii has modeled a somewhat progressive approach to—and in some respects, even a laissez faire attitude toward—drug laws and drug programs. At the dawn of the new millennium, Hawaii became the first U.S. state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes through the legislative process, and the first state to adopt “treatment instead of incarceration” legislation, in the tradition of “Prop 36,” the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000. In 2003 a Hawaiian student drug-testing bill was defeated, succumbing to pressure from parents and civil liberties groups. Hawaii lawmakers overrode Republican Governor Linda Lingle's veto of a 2008 bill that enabled the state to become the sixth to ...

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