What Hawaiʻi Thinks About Marijuana Laws

We included this topic in two statewide surveys: The BOSS Survey of 405 local business leaders and the 808 Poll of 547 members of the general public.

In both surveys, we led the discussion on marijuana with this question: “Would you say the laws concerning marijuana in Hawaiʻi are: too tough, just right or not tough enough?” We asked this question before Gov. David Ige allowed a bill to become law without his signature; the bill passed this spring by the state Legislature decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Here are the responses from the surveys:

graph 1

The numbers were very similar between the two surveys. But here are some notable differences in the survey of the general public:

  • When considering the major ethnic groups in the state, Caucasians and Native Hawaiians were more likely to agree that current laws are too tough while Japanese and Filipinos were least likely to hold that opinion.
  • When considering age, the feeling that the laws are too tough was highest among younger people and declines with age.

Next, the respondents were asked if they felt marijuana should be taxed, regulated and legalized for adults.

Among the general public:

  • Legalization was favored by 62% of Caucasians, 63% of Native Hawaiians, 30% of Japanese and 35% of Filipinos.
  • Support for legalization was especially strong on Maui and Kauaʻi.
  • 57% of those who do not have a college degree support legalization. This proportion drops to 37% among college graduates.

graph 3

Research respondents in the general public survey were asked if they would support a measure in which Hawaiʻi decriminalized marijuana possession for personal use, making it a violation similar to receiving a parking ticket instead of a criminal offense.



Methodology: The BOSS Survey and 808 Poll are each conducted twice a year for Hawaii Business Magazine by the research division of the Anthology Marketing Group. To read the methodology for both, click here.



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