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Hawaii decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana for January 2020

A bill legalizing the use of recreational marijuana was signed into Illinois law. Veuer’s Justin Kircher has the details. Buzz60

Hawaii has become the 26th state to decriminalize possession of marijuana, a measure that will take effect Jan. 11, 2020.

The new law will eliminate criminal penalties for possession of three grams or less of marijuana. Possession of those small amounts will only be punishable by fines of no more than $130.

According to the Marijuana Police Project, three grams is the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalized possession.

In a June press conference, Democratic Gov. David Ige said the decision was “a very tough call” on which he went back and forth before ultimately deciding in favor of decriminalization by supporting House Bill 1383.

Ige previously opposed bills this year that would have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Law enforcement officials told Ige 3 grams is small enough amount that “essentially they will proceed the way they always have,” the governor said.

Hawaii’s current law says possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is punishable by 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to NORML. Three grams of marijuana is equal to .11 ounces.

The state legalized medical cannabis in 2000, but dispensary sales began just two years ago. A new medical marijuana dispensary, Hawaiian Ethos, just began sales in Kailua-Kona late June. It’s the second dispensary to open on the Hawaii Island, the first opening in August 2017.

Contributing: Associated Press

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The measure will eliminate criminal penalties for possession of three grams or less of marijuana.

LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS

Hawaii

Is weed legal in Hawaii?

Yes and no. Medical marijuana is legal for patients with a qualifying condition who have state-issued medical marijuana cards and for patients from other states with valid medical marijuana cards from their home jurisdiction. Cannabis for adult-use, or recreational, purposes remains illegal in Hawaii.

Hawaii has decriminalized possession of 3 grams of cannabis, making it punishable by a fine of $130.

Legislation history

In 2000, Hawaii became the first state to legalize medical marijuana via legislation when SB 862 became Act 228 . The law amended Chapter 329 of Hawaii’s Revised Statutes and set limits for cultivation, listed qualifying conditions, and offered protection against prosecution for patients, caregivers, and recommending physicians. It also called for the creation of a registry of patients and caregivers and put the Department of Public Safety in charge of the program.

Subsequent legislation moved oversight to the Department of Health (DOH), expanded possession limits, added qualifying conditions and a means of petitioning for more, and set up dispensary licensing. Though medical cannabis was legalized in 2000, the state didn’t license any dispensaries until 2018.

In 2019, Hawaii decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana when it passed HB 1383. A fine of $130 is the only penalty for possessing 3 grams of cannabis or less. Possessing more than that, up to an ounce, carries a penalty of 30 days imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

HB 1383 also allowed for prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug charges to petition for release to a drug-treatment program and the expungement of the records of those who complete the program. These changes only applied to prisoners convicted of possessing 3 grams or less.

Where is it safe to purchase?

Patients can purchase medical cannabis from state-regulated dispensaries on Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii. Patients and caregivers may not purchase more than 4 ounces (113 grams) of cannabis within a period of 15 consecutive days, or no more than 8 ounces (227 grams) within a period of 30 consecutive days. Patients or caregivers transporting cannabis must keep it in a sealed container out of view. Transporting cannabis between islands is illegal.

Finding licensed dispensaries in Hawaii

Medical marijuana cardholders can find licensed dispensaries in Hawaii and search by island, including Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii. Many dispensaries in Hawaii offer online ordering in addition to storefront sales. Delivery is not allowed.

Where is it safe to consume?

Consumption is only allowed in private. Smoking and vaping medical cannabis is allowed in private areas that aren’t designated a smoke-free location.

Possession

Registered medical cannabis patients and caregivers are permitted up to 4 ounces (113 grams) of usable cannabis between them.

View the marijuana laws & regulations for Hawaii.