Hawaii Senate Approves Cannabis Record Expungement Pilot Bill


On Tuesday, Hawaii’s Senate voted on and passed House Bill 1595 (HB 1595), which creates a pilot project for a state-initiated expungement process of arrest records of certain cannabis offenses. 

The bill initially aimed to have the state automatically expunge tens of thousands of arrest and conviction records for low-level marijuana possession, according to Marijuana Moment. However, this was scaled back after amendments introduced by Attorney General Anne Lopez.

Bringing the Bill to Life

The Last Prisoner Project, an organization dedicated to ensuring that no one is jailed for cannabis, worked with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Tarnas, Chair of the Hawaii State House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, to bring the bill to life. 

“HB 1595 has been amended to reflect the preferred approach of the Department of the Attorney General,” says Frank Stiefel, Senior Policy Associate at the Last Prisoner Project. “The bill now outlines the creation of a pilot for the implementation of a state-initiated expungement process for non-conviction records of cannabis possession. Our hope is that HB 1595 will be a blueprint for how Hawai’i can begin to provide retroactive relief to the thousands of individuals who continue to suffer the consequences of having a criminal record for cannabis possession, an offense that has been decriminalized since 2019.” 

The bill now goes back to the House to consider changes made in the Senate.