Yesterday, Gov. David Ige announced that he will allow a modest decriminalization bill, HB 1383, to become law. The bill will make possession of three grams or less of marijuana punishable by a $130 fine. Under current law, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The bill will take effect on January 11, 2020.
This bill will save some Hawaiians from traumatic arrests, possible jail time, and life-altering criminal records. However, it's an extremely timid step forward. Three grams is the smallest possession limit of any decriminalization or legalization state. Unfortunately, with such a low possession limit and steep fine, lives will continue to be needlessly derailed. And, decriminalization does nothing to control the illicit market.
A more sensible approach would be to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. Eleven states — including every state on the West Coast — have chosen this approach. Hawaii is lagging behind.
By legalizing taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older, Hawaii would dramatically reduce marijuana arrests, displace the illicit market, and ensure consumers have a safe, tested product.
Contact your lawmakers today! With your help, Hawaii can take a more sensible approach to marijuana
Two Senate committees recently amended and approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of just three grams of cannabis, reducing the penalty to a $30 civil fine. However, the bill will die unless a hearing is scheduled by this Friday, April 5!
Click here to email Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and ask him to schedule a hearing on the bill — HB1383 HD2 SD1. You can also call Chair Dela Cruz at 808-586-6090. Be sure to be respectful.
The bill has already been approved by the full House. The two Senate committees amended the bill to lower the fine for a first offense from a steep $200 to $30. Still, it only decriminalizes possession of up to three grams, which would be the smallest amount of any decriminalization or legalization state. However, any hope of improving it also dies if the bill does not get a hearing. So please, contact Chair Dela Cruz today!
This legislation is crucial to the marijuana policy reform movement in Hawaii. Please contact Chair Dela Cruz today, then forward this message to your family and friends in Hawaii.