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Hawaii state House passes bill decriminalizing possession of marijuana

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The state House of Representatives passed a bill today that would decriminalize the adult use of marijuana, which is currently illegal under federal law.

House Bill 1383 HD2 fines people without medical cannabis cards who are caught with up to three grams of pakalolo $200, but dismisses any criminal charges. The bill was moved to the state Senate for consideration.

“This law keeps drug dealers behind bars where they belong, but also keeps regular people who just had a joint out of jail to avoid creating more hardened criminals which makes crime worse,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in a news release. “It removes the unnecessary permanent mark from their record so they can go back to school, get a better job, and take care of their family. If we want to actually reduce crime and reduce substance abuse, then our taxpayer dollars are more effectively spent on treatment rather than jailing people at a cost of $146 per person per day.”

Under state law, the possession of pot is considered “promoting a detrimental drug in the third degree,” a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in prison, as well as a possible fine of $1,000.

If the bill is approved, Hawaii would become the 24th state to either decriminalize or legalize pot.

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