Hawaii Committee Approves Bill to Decriminalize One Ounce of Marijuana

Legislation to decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana has been approved through a key committee in the Hawaii House of Representatives.

The House Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs Committee voted yesterday to pass House Bill 1596, allowing it to move towards a vote of the full House. The measure was filed last month by State Representative David Tarnas along with a coalition of 11 other lawmakers.

In 2019 lawmakers in Hawaii passed a limited marijuana decriminalization law that removed criminal penalties for possessing up to three grams of marijuana, making it at most an $125 ticket. House Bill 1596 would increase the three gram limit to be 28 grams (one ounce), and it would reduce the ticket to a maximum $25.

The measure also “exempts drug paraphernalia for marijuana from certain penalties under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.”

Under current law possessing over three grams but less than one ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The full text of House Bill 1596 can be found by clicking here.

In March of last year Hawaii’s full Senate voted 22 to 3 to legalize marijuana, with the measure failing to be passed through the House before the end of the legislative session.

According to polling released earlier this year, the public is on their side, with 52% of adults in Hawaii in support of legalizing marijuana, with just 31% opposed and 17% undecided.

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