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Hawaii Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

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The Hawaii House of Representatives approved a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana on Thursday.

Under the legislation as amended, people caught possessing three grams or less of cannabis would face a civil fine of $200.

Three grams is much less marijuana than is decriminalized in most other states with similar policies.

The bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee last month but was amended on the floor this week to cover only the tiny amount. It still contains provisions to expunge prior cannabis convictions, but only for those concerning less than three grams.

The legislation as approved by the full House would also create a marijuana evaluation task force to “examine other states’ laws, penalties, and outcomes pertaining to marijuana use, other than marijuana use for medical purposes, and make recommendations on amending marijuana use penalties and outcomes in the State.”

It now heads to the Senate.

Separately, a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana sales was approved by a Senate committee last month but didn’t get through a second panel in time to advance further in the legislative process.

Under current state law cannabis possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days incarceration and a fine up to $1,000.

Hawaii Lawmakers Unanimously Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill In Committee

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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