Hawaii senate approves bill to decriminalize cannabis

Published Mar 23, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
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Hawaii state legislation is about to change. On January the eleventh, two thousand and twenty, we saw new laws go into effect. Hawaii became the 26th state in America to decriminalize the possession of a small amount of cannabis. The governor of Hawaii is quick in reminding its residents and visitors of the beautiful islands of Hawaii that this forward action does not necessarily mean that the state of Hawaii is ready to commit and legalize the recreational use of cannabis on all of the islands.

House Bill 1383 would decriminalize the possession of cannabis throughout the state of Hawaii. The passing of this bill also ensures that there will be a retroactive expungement for those individuals who have past possession cannabis offences for personal amounts of cannabis. The island of Hawaii, however, will now allow visitors to the island to purchase cannabis legally.

Medical cannabis

Those patients who rely on cannabis to control pain will now be able to apply for a medical card. The card may be purchased for $49.50. As a visitor requiring cannabis for a medical condition, you will be able to buy up to 4 ounces from a licensed local dispensary on the island. Hawaiian law states that you can only consume medical cannabis in your private residence out of the public viewing eyes. Please do not attempt to use your medical marijuana in a moving vehicle; it is not legal,  and a bad habit of getting into.

State rep, Mark Nakashima, along with other sponsors, has heard vast amounts of information on the benefits of small amounts of cannabis for medical use. Providing an opportunity for people to access cannabis for medicinal benefits they receive from the plant was realized by the passing of this bill.

Mr. Nakashima would prefer to see the medical marijuana legislation expanded rather than taking the road to further decriminalization of the herb. He does, however, acknowledge that this movement opens the door for those who receive benefits from cannabis to continue even if they do not meet the very stringent protocols for the medical marijuana go ahead state approval.

A note to vacationers

The Hawaii state legislature has ensured some ardent weed users that their Hawaii vacations will not end in jail. However, your possession of a small amount of weed, under 3 grams will cost you a few green notes if you are apprehended. A $130 fine will be yours to pay if you have over the legal amount of cannabis in your possession.

The new legislation would see your Hawaiian vacation turn into something that is not only cannabis-friendly but also cannabis decriminalized, not to be confused with Hawaii state legislature for legalization of the cannabis plant. That right has not been passed, as of yet. The senate would amend the existing statute and create a fourth-degree misdemeanor category. Currently, misdemeanor convictions produce the possibility of time in jail, so this bill is a defelonization measure, not total decriminalization

The Chief of Police, Paul Fereira, does not see the change in legislation harming the police operations of the state. He added that the under 3-gram amount would not be something they would go looking specifically for.  The amount would have to be found accidentally while conducting other police business to be charged.

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