Hawaii's governor signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana back in 2000, but a new poll shows that the state's residents are ready to take it a step further.
The results of a survey commissioned by the Drug Policy Action Group and conducted by QMark Research were released on Thursday, showing 57 percent of respondents in favor of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana. Forty percent were opposed. According to Maui Now, that figure marks a 20 percent increase in support from a similar poll in 2005.
In addition to that, the survey showed 78 percent support for establishing dispensary system for medical marijuana.
The poll was also accompanied by an economic impact report, which found that marijuana legalization would provide the state with savings of around $12 million a year in enforcement costs, as well as at least $11 million a year in additional revenue through taxation.
Voters in Colorado and Washington broke ground in November, approving measures to legalize marijuana in their states. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, however, under which it is classified as a Schedule I substance, alongside drugs such as heroin and LSD. The move to legalize has left President Barack Obama's administration scrambling to figure out how it will respond. While reports have suggested that the Justice Department could be drawing up a blueprint to undermine the voter-approved initiatives, the White House has not given any additional information about its plans.