Hawaii has become the 26th State in the US to decriminalise cannabis.
Bill HB1383 decriminalises possession of a small amount of cannabis. Those caught with less than three grams will no longer face criminal prosecution, but may still be subject to a fine up to $130.
Three grams is the minimum threshold any State has so far included in their decriminalisation of cannabis.
The new bill will also seek to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of possessing under three grams of cannabis.
Unlike in Illinois, where expungement will be automatic under their new bill, those seeking to expunge their convictions will potentially require a written application process.
Bill HB 1383 will also create a task force to study other states’ cannabis laws.
The new legislation will come into effect in January 2020.
Hawaii’s Governor, David Ige (D), declined to either veto or sign the bill, resulting in the bill becoming official Hawaii law.
While cannabis campaign groups in America have welcomed the news that Hawaii will be decriminalising cannabis, they remain critical of the three gram limit.
The Marijuana Policy Project, a legal reform group, said in a statement:
“Unfortunately, three grams would be the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalized (or legalized) simple possession of marijuana.
“Still, removing criminal penalties and possible jail time for possession of a small amount of cannabis is an improvement.”
Troy Smit, of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), added:
“While any progress is great, this stands to be the least progressive decriminalisation statue, among states with them, in the whole.”
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