When it comes to legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use, Hawaii out of step with liberal stalwarts such as California and Vermont that have already done so, and other left-leaning states such as New York and New Jersey that are racing toward joining them. On Friday, a legalization bill that made it farther in the legislative process than previous efforts died when lawmakers failed to consider it in time for a deadline.
Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English has introduced marijuana legalization bills for the past 15 years — but Hawaii has a track record of moving slowly on social issues. For example, other states moved far more quickly to sanction gay marriage and medically assisted suicide.
Half the Democrats in the state Senate co-sponsored English’s measure, helping spur speculation this would be the year legalization becomes reality.