Make no mistake, there’s a lot to love about everyday life in Hawaiian paradise. Maui, however, still has its fair share of weird issues and problems.
5 Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Maui
1. You aren’t allowed to dance and drink at the same time.
Seriously. It’s not only a frowned upon act of fun and good times, but technically it’s against the law. What the shit, right?! As someone who just lived in Costa Rica, where drinking and driving is still legal (as long as you’re not drunk) and Austin, where you’re weird for not drinking and dancing, this is a foreign concept.
If restaurants and bars wish to provide a space for customers to dance in Maui, they must first get a permit for a specified dancing area, which must be at least 100 square feet, where customers are allowed to dance, albeit without alcoholic beverages, or otherwise face a huge fine from the Maui County Liquor Commission. Deputy Director of the Maui Department of Liquor Control, Traci Villarosa, says it’s a “safety issue” because they “don’t want drinks spilling or glass breaking on the dance floor.” Umm… plastic cups, anyone? Just sayin’.
However, many people and businesses have recently called a spade a spade. And that spade is that this is a ridiculous law. As of March 5th, 2014, the Hawaii Senate had to vote on a bill that required the county liquor commissions to define the term “dancing”, who, in response, said “I know it when I see it.”
While patrons themselves aren’t cited if caught dancing in a non-dancing specified area, businesses are held accountable and are forced to essentially tell people to cut it out or get out. Riiiigggghhhhttt. Next.
2. There are no strip clubs.
That’s right, I know what y’all really came to this blog for. If you can’t even have a mai tai and do the carlton, though, it’s probably no shock that you also can’t watch a grown ass woman undress and dance for money. There are hostess bars on Maui, as I learned in my liquor certification class, where you can pay for the company and attention of women so long as you buy them as many overpriced drinks as they’ll accept, but there is no touching or propositioning allowed, at least according to the law.
When we first moved here, we were pretty surprised at how many Hawaii residents chose Las Vegas as their mainland getaway destination. I mean, Vegas is fun and all, and I appreciate the awesomeness of most things about it, but I’m not sure it would be the first place on my list if I was looking for a break from the tropical life for a bit. But after 6 months of living here, I see the merit. Besides the sunshine, it’s the complete and total opposite of Maui… people stay out past 9:00pm, you are encouraged to drink and dance, you can gamble to your heart’s desire, and naked women are everywhere!
3. There’s a huge problem with domestic violence.
During my aforementioned liquor certification class, our instructor, who was born and raised on Maui, also mentioned that drinking and driving usually isn’t the problem here… it’s drinking and beating your significant other. I know domestic violence is an issue everywhere, but I had no idea it was such a huge issue in supposedly one of the happiest states in the country.
In 2009, 2,388 incidents of reported domestic abuse occurred, resulting in 451 arrests. In 2010, that number rose to 3,899 reported incidents, resulting in 421 arrests. According to the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 10% of high school students have previously reported that they were hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or a girlfriend in the past year.
While organizations like Women Helping Women (WHW) and Parents and Children Together (PACT) are doing all they can to provide outreach support and crisis hotlines to people in need, this is still a huge issue in Maui and all of Hawaii.
4. There’s also a huge problem with drug abuse.
Little did I know, Hawaii ranks #1 in the country for workplace meth use, the Aloha State’s personal drug of choice. In a test completed in 2010, Hawaii ranked 410% higher than the national average for positive meth tests in the workplace. Four hundred and ten percent. Whoa. It’s estimated that approximately 10% of the Hawaiian population has a problem with meth.
“Hawaiian ice” isn’t a new thing, however. It’s been a problem since the 1980’s, when Chinese drug trafficking organizations began test-marketing and it eventually found its way to Hawaii. According to the Hawaii Meth Project, 42% of Hawaii’s drug enforcement operations are attributed to meth, more than all other types of drugs combined, and 90% of federally sentenced drug cases in Hawaii involve meth.
5. Hawaii residents get the highest welfare benefits in the U.S.
This is, after all, the most expensive state in the whole country. According to a 2011 study, people who live in Hawaii pay 116% of the national average for the cost of goods and services and have the highest median housing costs for renters in the country, right around $1,300 a month (ours is $1,275 for an unfurnished 2 bedroom, 2 bath in South Kihei).
What I didn’t know, however, is that for a mother of two, the welfare benefits for a year in Hawaii average just over $49,000. That’s equal to a job that pays around $60,000 for most, since welfare benefits aren’t taxed. Since minimum wage is just $7.25 an hour here, that may be most people’s best bet as far as making enough money to provide for their family. In fact, earlier this week, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a law to increase Hawaii’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2018, including tipped and non-tipped workers. 10 cool points for the service industry.
Whatever stance or opinions you have on these issues, at least now you’re perhaps slightly more informed. As for me, I’m off to bust a move in my living room whilst drinking a fruity vodka drink. Regulate THAT, Maui.