Marijuana and Other Drugs on Maui

Maui is famous for its beaches and relaxed island atmosphere.  However, as in many places throughout the United States, the recreational use of drugs and controlled substances to enhance your relaxation may result in criminal charges. 

It is generally illegal to possess marijuana on Maui, which is also known by numerous other names including pot, weed and Maui Wowie.  However, if you have a serious medical condition that qualifies for a “blue card,” possession of three ounces or less of marijuana may be legal.  As the movement to legalize marijuana gains momentum across the nation, a number of bills relating to pot have recently been introduced in the Hawaiian state legislature but have not yet been passed. 

Medical use of marijuana. 

HRS §329-122

Hawaiian statutes place drugs into four categories. 

Dangerous Drugs

This category includes Schedule I or Schedule II substances such as morphine, heroin, opium and cocaine but does not include marijuana.  Possession of any amount of a “dangerous drug” is a Class C felony.  If you sell or possess more than small amounts of a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, you may be charged with a Class B felony.  Possession of large amounts may lead to a Class A felony. 

Promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree. 

HRS §712-1243

Harmful Drugs

This category includes Schedule III or Schedule IV substances such as prescription narcotics, anabolic steroids and barbiturates.  This category also includes marijuana concentrate, known as hashish.  Possession of any amount of this category of drug is a misdemeanor.  Distribution or possession of large amounts of a “harmful drug” is a Class B felony. 

Promoting a harmful drug in the fourth degree. 

HRS §712-1246.5

Detrimental Drugs

This category of drugs includes marijuana and Schedule V substances.  If you possess marijuana or Schedule V substances you may be charged with a petty misdemeanor.  If you have more than one ounce of marijuana, you may be charged with a misdemeanor.  Distribution is a Class C felony. 

Promoting a detrimental drug in the third degree. 

HRS §712-1249

Intoxicating Compounds

This category includes substances commonly used as inhalants such as gasoline and acetone.  Possessing intoxicating compounds for the purpose of inhaling will subject you to a misdemeanor. 

Promoting intoxicating compounds. 

HRS §712-1250

Is it Legal to Drink Alcohol on a Beach in Hawaii?

Visitors to Maui and kama’aina alike often wonder whether it is legal to consume liquor on the beach.  The confusion is understandable because it is not uncommon to see responsible adults enjoying a wide variety of beverages while relaxing on the beach. 

Liquor consumption laws on Maui’s beaches are often unenforced.  Our culture of personal responsibility, respect for the community and consideration for others mean that alcohol consumption is typically moderate and is rarely the cause of problems.  However, that does not mean it is legal.  To the contrary, consuming liquor on the beach is often illegal.  There are so many restrictions on the public consumption of liquor that you may be breaking one or more laws by drinking on a beach. 

Maui County Code 13.04.040(B) prohibits consuming alcohol in a park or recreational facility if the park is within 1500 feet of a school between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The same code section also prohibits consuming alcohol at any time in a public restroom.  It also prohibits consuming between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in any park or recreational facility. 

Hawaii Administrative Code 13-146-25 prohibits the use or possession of alcoholic beverages in a state park.  This applies to Makena State Park and others. 

It is unlawful to consume alcohol at all times in Keopuolani Park near the Kahului Harbor or Kamehameha Iki Park in Lahaina. 

If your beach is at or near a public lookout, consuming alcohol there is prohibited.  Hawaii Revised Statute §291-3.3(b)  HRS 291-3.3

If you happen to be walking on a public highway or sidewalk to your beach, consuming liquor is illegal. 

Hawaii Revised Statute §281-78 HRS 281-78

It is also unlawful to consume liquor or possess an open container of liquor within any municipal parking lot.  Maui County Code 8.21.010

If you choose to drink alcohol on or near a beach, be aware there are many restrictions and you may be unknowingly breaking the law.  In addition, there is also increased risk of personal injury by consuming alcohol and recreating on the beach, a boat or in the ocean.  It is simply wise to save your mai tai for the evening after you are off the road and at home.