Walking around with a small amount of weed won’t land you in jail anymore, as the state has decriminalized marijuana.
The new law has nothing to do with medical marijuana because that’s already legal here.
There is a difference between decriminalization and legalization.
House Majority Leader Della Belatti says many in Hawaii are not ready to make that leap.
“I think we see other states taking huge leaps forward, in some people’s minds, with adult-use legalization. And I think we really have to have more of a community conversation about that, because I think that, you know, it’s not something that everyone in the state of Hawaii is comfortable with.”
The new law creates a task force that will review other states’ laws and penalties — to see what changes might be made to Hawaii’s laws, going forward.
The new law also allows for those who previously were convicted of possession of three grams or less of marijuana — to get their records wiped clean — under certain conditions.
The first step would be for them to make a request of the court.
“This amount of dried herbs, three grams, shows how much marijuana could get you a ticket, instead of arrested.”
Starting January 11, instead of being arrested, anyone caught with three grams of marijuana or less — will be fined $130.
It is unclear whether police officers would be equipped with scales sensitive enough to weigh marijuana they find people with while on patrol. we asked the Honolulu Police Department — but did not hear back.
Belatti says, “You know I think when you look at the legislation as a whole there are going to be people who are not happy that we didn’t go far enough and yet I think through the discussions that we had at the legislature, we did take a step toward important cannabis decriminalization with this bill.”
Belatti says the new law is a starting point — which is likely to undergo further changes as the task force does its work.