Hawaii becomes the 26e state to decriminalize grass
The state of Hawaii has decriminalized cannabis yesterday. Bill HB1383 authorizes the possession of a personal quantity of cannabis and provides for the retroactive removal of persons who have committed similar possession offenses in the past. Malgres the news, David Ige, his governor, warned that this does not mean that the state is ready to say Aloha (hello) to the legalization of recreational use.
La new law provides a fine of 130 dollars for possession of up to three grams; However, the impending sentence of imprisonment is no longer a threat. This becomes the tiniest possession threshold of all decriminalized states. The law will come into force in about five months, as of 1er January 2020.
This is the most lax model in the United States, but it contrasts with the old law which provided for a sentence of 30 days imprisonment and a fine of 1000 dollars for personal consumption.
About two months ago, before Hawaii, North Dakota became the 25e State to abolish criminalization. Last month, the state of Illinois has become the 11 State confirming the complete legalization and regulation of the legal cannabis market.
Although mere possession is no longer considered a crime, it differs from legalization. Possession of more than three grams or the sale of cannabis for non-medical reasons is still considered a criminal activity and may be subject to arrest and possible prosecution.
The measure also creates a working group to study the cannabis laws of other states.
Deletion of criminal records is not automatic, as in the state of Illinois, it may require a written application process.
"Even though all progress is important, the fact remains that, on the whole, the states that have them are the least progressive in terms of decriminalization," says Troy Smit of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legislation (NORML).
The Hawaii legislature approved the bill and passed it on to Democratic Governor David Ige, who approved it in May. Ige did not approve or veto the bill, which allowed him to become law on Tuesday.
Some opponents of legalization prefer decriminalization as a means of reallocating resources to police and law enforcement for more pressing criminal activities. However, they oppose cannabis companies or "Big Cannabis" and fear that the plant is too easily accessible to minors.
Without the opportunity to legally buy cannabis, the illicit market and the associated dangers, such as organized crime, continue to flourish. The legalization of cannabis does not get much support, although the Hawaiian government does not seem to want to legalize it, so far it has accepted decriminalization.