The Hawaii House on Wednesday adopted a resolution seeking an exemption from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stipulating that the state is permitted to run its medical cannabis program without federal interference.
Separately, the Senate approved two resolutions calling on state officials to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and create a plan that would provide equitable access to the fungi for adult patients.
For the cannabis measure, the legislation asks the state Health Department to seek an “exception to regulations” from DEA and to petition for a rulemaking process that would clarify that state-level legalization is not in violation of federal drug laws.
The unanimously approved resolution states that “federal law expressly prohibits the use of marijuana, despite the evidence of the benefits of using medical cannabis” and “this lack of clarity between state and federal marijuana laws has repercussions for medical cannabis patients and the State’s medical cannabis dispensaries.”
Further, “obtaining an exception from the federal Controlled Substances Act for the state-authorized use of medical cannabis would benefit the State’s residents who use medical cannabis and the State’s medical cannabis dispensaries.”
An identical concurrent resolution has also been transmitted to the Senate for consideration.
Last year, DEA rejected a petition to exempt Iowa from enforcement actions related to its medical cannabis program that was filed by an activist, but state officials are considering submitting an official request of their own.
In Hawaii, the separate psychedelics measures that unanimously cleared the Senate, which call for a working group on psilocybin, are nonbinding—but their passage is another example of how lawmakers are increasingly open to exploring reforms around psychedelics. Another bill to legalize psilocybin for medical purposes was introduced in January, but it stalled in committee.
The current legislation wouldn’t legalize the entheogen. Rather, it simply