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State House kills bill to decriminalize marijuana

    In this Jan. 26

The state House today chose to recommit a bill to decriminalize marijuana, killing the bill for the session.

The bill that had been under consideration, Senate Bill 472, would have reclassified possession of a small amount of marijuana — 20 grams, or less than an ounce — from a criminal offense to a civil violation punishable by a $100 citation. Currently, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

However, the bill would have retained criminal penalties for minors who possess any amount of marijuana.

Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Associated Press there just weren’t enough votes in the House to push the bill through.

Advocates of changing Hawaii’s marijuana laws were optimistic of the bill’s chances after it passed the state Senate unanimously earlier this session.

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