Hawaii decriminalizes marijuana (mostly)
Hawaii has basically passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana, and while this is definitely a victory, it’s not exactly the cleanest win the cannabis industry has ever had. While the new law (which will take effect on January 11, 2020) does remove the possibility of jail time for carrying up to three grams of marijuana at a time, there’s still a $130 fine for being caught with the drug. And three grams is pretty small — in fact, it’s “the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalized (or legalized) simple possession of marijuana,” according to our friends at the Marijuana Policy Project. Also, Hawaii didn’t so much pass the bill as just let it happen — Governor David Ige was supposed to sign or veto the bill by Tuesday, and he didn’t do either, so the bill will essentially default into law.
While this is definitely a good step forward for Hawaii, we sure hope it’s not the last step they take. A bill like this will remove some anxiety from cannabis users in that state (and of course it’s a start to fighting back the racist and classist injustices of the War on Drugs), but this is just one step on the way to legalization. Hawaii does have a successful medical marijuana program, so hopefully as that program grows and continues without negative consequences, the state’s lawmakers will move forward towards full legalization.