Hawaii Attorney General David Louie’s testimony submitted to a Senate committee Feb. 4 says that an ounce of marijuana produces 56 joints.

In a joint hearing (pun intended) of the Judiciary and Labor and Health committees, Louie opposed SB 1460, which would establish a civil violation for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana subject to a $100 fine. Currently, possession is classified as a petty misdemeanor.

“It is also well known among the vice divisions of local police departments that one ounce of marijuana can produce approximately fifty-six marijuana joints,” Louie wrote in his testimony.

Is his number right?

As one might expect, it depends on the skill — or desired effect — of the roller. That, and the potency of the weed.

According to NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a group that claims to represent “the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly,” the average joint is estimated to have about 0.4 grams of marijuana in it.

A NORML report, the “Economics of Cannabis Legalization,” says “Taking this as a standard, we will define a ‘standard joint’ to be 0.4 grams of average-quality 6 percent buds. Thus an ounce of ‘standard pot’ equals 60 joints…”

However, the report also states that an ounce of 12 percent sensimilla, a more potent form of weed, would produce 120 joints. It says an ounce of “government pot” would produce about 30 joints. (The report does not clarify what “government pot” is but it seems reasonable to assume it is a weaker form of pot than “standard pot”.)

Jon Gettman, of High Times, a pro-marijuana magazine, estimates an ounce of marijuana will produce about 28 joints.

“Government issued marijuana cigarettes for research purposes, though, contain about .8 grams of marijuana and this is generally viewed as being a reasonable representation of the weight of marijuana cigarettes in use today,” Gettman wrote. “Factor in the seeds, stems, spillage, and other waste and it’s reasonable to estimate that a joint represents about 1 gram of marijuana, and that users get 28 joints of marijuana out of an ounce.”

One thing is sure, there is no shortage of opinions on the matter. If you Google “How many joints will an ounce of marijuana produce,” you’ll find several discussion forums debating the issue. Answers range from 29 to 38 to 57 to 2.

“joints can run pretty varying sizes, theoretically you could make a 14 oz joint, but that would be stupid,” wrote Dasmusik in a marijuana.com discussion.

However, taking into account that Louie was simply giving an approximation for legislative purposes, 56 joints out of an ounce of marijuana seems fair. His number isn’t too low.

Or, for that matter, too high.