Marijuana possession, sale, and distribution is regulated by both state and federal law. In Hawaii, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, as a drug with a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical use. (Hi. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 329-14.) However, there may be some exceptions to the following laws for medical marijuana possession and use. And, while not covered in this article, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Hawaii.
To learn more about Hawaii DUI marijuana laws, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Hawaii.
To learn about Hawaii's medical marijuana laws, see Hawaii Medical Marijuana Laws.
It is illegal to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana in Hawaii. (Hi. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 329-14.) Penalties vary according to the amount possessed.
Cultivating marijuana plants is a crime in Hawaii. Penalties vary according to the number of plants grown. Additional penalties apply to individuals who cultivate marijuana on someone else’s property (including government property, such as within a national park).
Cultivation on government or other land. Cultivating up to 24 plants on government land, or land owned by someone other than the person growing the plants (without permission) is a class B felony, punishable with up to ten years in prison. If the landowner did give permission, the owner and the cultivator may each be liable for penalties described above. (Hi. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 712-1249.5.) Cultivating 25 or more plants is a class A felony, punishable with up to 20 years in prison. (Hi. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 712-1249.4(d).)
Distributing marijuana (including selling or bartering) is a crime in Hawaii. Penalties vary according to the amount distributed, with additional penalties for distribution in or near a school, school vehicle, or public park.
A violation that occurs in or within 750 feet of a school or public park; or in or within ten feet of a school vehicle, is a class C felony, punishable with up to five years in prison. (Hi. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 712-1249.6.)
An adult older than 18 may not sell marijuana to a minor younger than 18. Violations are class B felonies, punishable with up to ten years in prison. (Hi. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 712-1249.5(e).) It is also a class B felony to hire or otherwise use a minor to distribute marijuana. However, if the violation takes place on or near a school, school vehicle, or public park, the violation is a class A felony punishable with up to 20 years in prison. (Hi. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 712-1249.7.)
It is illegal in Hawaii to possess, use, or sell drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties vary according to the violation.
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.