With the passage of House Bill 1383, possession of up to 3 grams of marijuana won’t anymore invite jail time in the state of Hawaii w.e.f. January 11, 2020. However, it will still carry a fine of up to $130.
At present, if a person is caught in possession of any amount of marijuana in Hawaii, they can be punished with up to 30 days of incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000
The Governor did not sign the bill
Interestingly, Hawaii Governor David Ige neither signed nor vetoed the bill; as a result, the bill became law when a deadline to act on the legislation expired on Tuesday.
When asked about his decision to make no move on the bill, Ige said that he decided to let the bill become law without his signature because of the quantity of cannabis involved. Notably, the limit set by Hawaii on the amount of cannabis that can be possessed without the fear of criminal prosecution is the smallest among the 26 states to do so.
“The quantity is very small when you talk with law enforcement personnel,” Ige was quoted as saying by HighTimes. “Essentially they will proceed the way they always have.”
Of course, the bill also will expunge previous criminal convictions for possession of up to 3 grams of the drug. A task force, too, has been set up to further explore the reform of the state’s penalties and outcomes for marijuana use.
Recreational marijuana bill failed earlier this year
In March, Hawaii’s Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill aimed at legalizing the cultivation and possession of marijuana for individuals 21 and over. However, the bill couldn’t move further when the Senate Health Committee failed to act on the measure before a legislative deadline.
In case you didn’t know, marijuana has been legal in Hawaii since 2000. However, medical marijuana dispensaries did not open in The Aloha State until 2017.