Hawaii becomes 26th state to decriminalize weed
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 for possession of up to three grams; However, the imminent prison sentence no longer poses a threat. This becomes the tiniest possession threshold of any decriminalized state. The law will come into force in about five months, starting January 1, 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 25th state to abolish criminalization. Last month, the state of Illinois became the 11 state to confirm full legalization and regulation of the legal cannabis market.
While simple possession is no longer considered a crime, it is different from legalization. Possession of more than three grams or the sale of cannabis for non-medical reasons is still considered criminal activity and may therefore be subject to arrest and possible prosecution.
The measure also creates a task force to study the cannabis laws of other states.
Striking out criminal records is not automatic, as in the state of Illinois, it may require a written request process.
“While any progress is important, the fact remains that overall, the states that do have it are the least progressive when it comes to decriminalization,” says Troy Smit of the National Marijuana Law Reform Organization (NORML).
Hawaii's legislature approved the bill and forwarded it 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 activity. However, they oppose cannabis companies or “Big Cannabis” and fear that the plant is too easily accessible to minors.
Without the ability to legally buy cannabis, the illicit market and the dangers associated with it, such as organized crime, continue to thrive. The legalization of cannabis does not receive much support, although the government of Hawaii does not appear to want to legalize, it has so far accepted decriminalization.