Traveling to an idyllic place like Hawaii is a freeing experience, but that doesn't mean you're free to do everything you're used to doing back
on the mainland. The Aloha State is one-of-a-kind and it's this uniqueness that has required its own unique set of laws. The following is a look
at five important Hawaiian laws you should know before you pack your bags and head for the airport:
1. There is a ban on distributing single-use plastic bags
While this is a law you don't have to worry about breaking, it is one that will likely impact your buying habits while in the state. Since 2015,
Hawaii has banned the distribution of single-use plastic bags, such as you would find at the grocery store, gas station, or similar retail shop.
Some places provide paper bags instead, but others don't offer anything at all, so it’s a good idea to pack a reusable shopping bag.
2. The legal smoking age is 21
Hawaii is the first state to raise its legal smoking age to 21. This policy began on January, 2016 and covers all tobacco products including
electronic cigarettes. This same law also prohibits the use of any electronic smoking device in areas where cigarette smoking had already been
banned, which is most notable at state beaches and parks.
3. Give sea turtles their space
Sea turtles, known locally as Honu, are exciting to watch. They have a graceful manner as they glide through the water and rest at the ocean floor.
While it may be tempting to pet their large, green shells, don’t do it. In Hawaiian waters, it is illegal to touch, disturb, pick up, or kill any
type of sea turtle. Doing so can result in a fine of up to $25,000 and even jail time. So, be sure to enjoy these creatures at a respectful distance.
4. No texting while walking across the street
Most states have laws prohibiting texting and driving, but did you know Hawaii also makes it illegal for pedestrians to text or look at their
phones while walking in a marked crosswalk? This is known locally as the “distracted pedestrian law” and violators are subject to a minimum $15 fine.
5. Traveling with produce and pets may be prohibited
Hawaii has a unique, isolated environment in which certain animals and plant species could wreak havoc. This has required the state to adopt very
strict laws regarding pets and the importing and exporting of produce. All pets are subject to upwards of five days in quarantine once they arrive
in Hawaii – and that's only if they've already undergone a
120-day vetting process. Any produce or baggage you have may be seized if it's considered a threat for carrying tiny pests or their eggs.
Any produce you want to take home, such as fresh pineapples, should be pre-certified by agricultural authorities and properly labeled before you head to the airport.
To learn more about Hawaii, its unique culture, and all there is to do there, check out these articles: