Hawaii decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana possession

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Hawaii on Tuesday became the 26th state to reform cannabis laws by decriminalizing a small amount of marijuana possession, Vox reports.

The new law will allow people to possess up to three grams of marijuana without the fear of serving any jail time, although they may be handed a $130 fine. Prior criminal records of people convicted of possessing three or fewer grams will also be allowed to be expunged.

The law will go into effect on January 11, 2020, despite the fact that Gov. David Ige (D) did not sign the bill after the Hawaii state legislature passed the bill in May. He decided not to veto the bill due to the small amount permitted, however, allowing the measure to become law.

“The amount is very small, when you talk with law enforcement personnel,” Ige said. “Essentially they will proceed the way they always have.”

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Despite the relatively small amount, Ige said this decriminalization bill could spur further decriminalization legislation “and other mechanisms to make marijuana more available.”

The Marijuana Policy Project, a legal cannabis reform group, says that Hawaii’s new law allows the smallest limit of any state that has decriminalized marijuana possession, but still marks significant progress.

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“Unfortunately, three grams would be the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalized (or legalized) simple possession of marijuana,” the organization said in a statement. “Still, removing criminal penalties and possible jail time for possession of a small amount of cannabis is an improvement.”

Oscar Pascual is the editor of Smell the Truth, syndicated on GreenState and SFGATE. Smell The Truth is one of the internet’s most popular destinations for cannabis-related news and culture. This blog is not written or edited by Hearst. The authors are solely responsible for the content.