Hawaii could decriminalize the smallest amount of marijuana in the U.S. if a bill to remove criminal penalties for possessing three grams or less of pakalolo is signed into law.
House Bill 1383 would replace criminal penalties for possessing three grams or less of marijuana with a $130 fine. The bill also allows those charged with possession have their records expunged their records if the charge wasn’t related to other crimes.
The bill passed a final vote by both the state House and Senate and now moves to Gov. David Ige for his signature.
Rep. Sharon Har speaks in opposition to HB 1383.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
While HB 1383 passed the Senate by unanimous vote, it cleared the House with a narrower margin of 34-16. Rep. Sharon Har was one of the measures most outspoken critics.
She said that one of the bills fundamental flaws was its lack of a requirement for minors to attend drug rehabilitation programs. She also said the bill makes no distinction for strains of weed that have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that get’s you high otherwise known as THC.
“It demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the drug,” Har said from the House floor.
Har also echoed the worry of many opponents of marijuana legislation: that decriminalization will one day lead to legalization of marijuana.
HB 1383 would also require the House and Senate Judiciary Committee chairs to convene a task force to study other state’s marijuana laws and make recommendations to the Legislature in 2021 on what changes should be made. to Hawaii’s laws.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell