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Senate votes to decriminalize marijuana, raise minimum wage

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:07 p.m. HST, Mar 05, 2013

The state Senate has voted unanimously to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. 

In another vote today, senators approved a proposal to raise the minimum wage.

The proposals now go to the House for consideration.

The marijuana bill creates a civil violation for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. Lawmakers added a $1,000 fine to emphasize that the use of marijuana is still illegal despite the shift from the criminal to the civil realm.

Sen. Clayton Hee says the bill is designed to reduce the backlog in the criminal justice system.

Law enforcement officials oppose the bill and say that decriminalization would make it harder to enforce the law against the drug.

A related bill to legalize the drug died in the House earlier this session.

The Hawaii state Senate has approved a proposal to raise the state minimum wage. 

The other bill would gradually increase minimum wage to $9.25 in two years and fix the wage to the consumer price index starting in 2016. 

The House passed a less ambitious proposal, raising the wage to $9 by 2017. The House proposal passed today is rolled into a larger bill that deals with unemployment benefits. 

Proponents say the bill would help Hawaii residents keep up with the rising cost of living.

Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom voted against the initiative. He says that raising the minimum wage increases unemployment.

Sen. Malama Solomon supported the measure but says she is concerned about fixing the wage to the consumer price index.

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NITRO08 wrote:
Make it legal stop wasting tax payers money. The police only want to secure unnecessary jobs. Also tax the dam thing instead of raising gas tax.
on March 5,2013 | 01:10PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Enabling society!
on March 5,2013 | 01:39PM
Big C wrote:
I hope the legislature has been following the problems that the State of Washington and Colorado are having regarding the decriminalizing of Marijuana. This also does not make it legal under the eyes of the Federal Gov't. I guess the Hawaii legislature is just being "xxxx" by wanting to jump on the band wagon before it has been proven to be ok the other states. Raising the minimum wage is ok, but to fix the wage (force) the wage against the CPI is not a good idea. This will cause severe hardship for small business owners. Again, look at the problems the State of Washington has with this similar method. Since they appears to be heading DOWN the path of the State of Washington, they should also pass the gun ownership laws to allow conceal weapons. That way, we can live like Washingtonians, and shoot our way our of an argument. Especially after smoking a joint, and being layed off from a job due to increased cost of operations.
on March 5,2013 | 02:06PM
csdhawaii wrote:
Dude, surely you're not implying that smoking a joint is going to make you prone to gun violence. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Federal government needs to make marijuana a legal substance already...it's far, far less destructive than alcohol and has great medicinal benefit.
on March 5,2013 | 03:45PM
kainalu wrote:
The Federal Government is biting at the bit to relief itself of this draconian law, otherwise, an albatross around our judicial-system's neck. It will happen sooner rather than later, Big C.
on March 5,2013 | 05:08PM
soundofreason wrote:
Lost me at "Dude". Point made.
on March 5,2013 | 05:41PM
NITRO08 wrote:
Get your head out of your you know what.
on March 5,2013 | 04:24PM
Fred01 wrote:
You are dumb.
on March 5,2013 | 04:30PM
Kaluu wrote:
I don't know what to think. Why not decriminalize pakalolo, period. That would get rid of the stinking low-life trafficking and bribing. Human beings are weird. No matter how much we have to enjoy life, we just can't get enough enjoyment out of what we have.
on March 5,2013 | 03:50PM
ArchStanton wrote:
Have we such a severe shortage of pot-heads that Sen. Hee feels we need to create more?
on March 5,2013 | 06:42PM
HD36 wrote:
Since the democrats subscribe to the Krugman theory of economics; make the fine $40,000 and raise the minimum wage to $55 dollars an hour. Low income workers will spend the money, creating more demand for products, driving the economy higher. The state will be able to pay off the unfunded liabilities as they put liens on property from people who can't pay the fines. It always starts slowly, to get you used to it, but builds momentum as the phony economy collapses.
on March 5,2013 | 09:06PM
808warriorfan wrote:
Would be a Republican who doesn't want people to have a decent living. Let's face it even $9 an hour won't cut it but Sam Sloan says no. Hey Senator Sloan why don't you try living on today's minimum wage. Put up or shut up
on March 5,2013 | 10:19PM
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