Respected local polling firm QMark Research was commissioned by the Drug Policy Action Group (the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii) to conduct a statewide, statistically significant poll of 600 Hawaii voters. The poll occurred between November 19 and December 4, 2012. Among its findings:
- 78% support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.
- 69% think that jail time for marijuana offenses is inappropriate.
- 57% favor legalized, taxed and regulated marijuana, 20% higher than the last poll conducted in 2005.
Independent U.H. economist David Nixon was commissioned to update a 2005 study on the state of marijuana law enforcement in Hawaii. He was asked to examine the costs of current law enforcement policies, and to predict the economic impacts if Hawaii were to decriminalize or legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Among his findings:
- Hawaii has seen a surge in marijuana arrests since 2004. Possession arrests have increased almost 50%, and distribution arrests have almost doubled.
- Hawaii’s marijuana laws overly impact males under the age of 25 and people of native Hawaiian descent. These groups were arrested in numbers disproportionate to their share of the population.
- By decriminalizing marijuana, Hawaii could redirect over $9 M annually in law enforcement costs.
- By legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana, Hawaii could conservatively add an additional estimated $11 M in yearly revenues.