Cannabis has officially been decriminalized in the state of Hawaii. This newly passed law removes the possibility of jail time as a penalty for cannabis possession. The Aloha state is the 26th state to decriminalize cannabis.
The state’s legislature approved the bill back in May, sending it to the desk of Governor David Ige. Ige initially voiced some concerns about the bill, particularly the lack of provisions to give young people better access to substance abuse programs. In the end, Ige neither signed nor vetoed the bill, meaning that it was effectively passed into law.
This bill is set to take effect at the start of 2020. Once the law has been enacted, those caught with up to three ounces of cannabis will face a $130 fine. This is a definite improvement from the previous punishment, which could be 30 days in prison and $1000 fine.
Perhaps most significantly, this bill even contains language that would retroactively clear cannabis-related convictions. Clearly, this is a step in the right direction when it comes to cannabis for the state.
The future of marijuana laws in Hawaii
Historically, the state has demonstrated no fear when it comes to cannabis legislation. In 2000, Hawaii became the first state to allow medical marijuana use. However, residents may have to wait a bit longer before they get fully legalized recreational cannabis.
“We continue to learn from other states about the problems they see with recreational marijuana, and most of the governors that I talk to that have recreational laws have acknowledged significant problems with those measures,” Governor Ige stated.
Ige has a history of voting against cannabis legalization and reform. Several bills that would have legalized recreational cannabis have died before him, two of which he personally vetoed. He’s also shot down legislation that would allow for medical cannabis to be transported between islands. Additionally, Ige has opposed creating an industrial hemp licensing program.
“We would be smart to engage and recognize what’s happening in other states, acknowledge the challenges and problems that it has raised and allow us to look at how we would implement it here in a much better controlled fashion,” Ige continued.
While citizens and other legislators are pushing for progress and cannabis reform, the Governor has yet to be fully convinced.
Weed in Hawaii
The legal cannabis industry is booming like never before; there’s plenty of money to be made and massive opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. With these prospects, it’s only a matter of time before the people of Hawaii vote for full, recreational use on the islands. The future of this island paradise looks greener than ever before for legal cannabis.