Hawaii decriminalised marijuana, but advocacy groups aren’t satisfied

On Tuesday, Hawaii became the 26th American state to decriminalise or legalise marijuana use.

Democratic governor David Ige did not sign the bill but he also didn’t veto it either, effectively allowing it to become law.

Hawaii has become the 26th American state to decriminalise marijuana use in an almost progressive law, however advocacy groups aren’t satisfied.

The new law will carry out from January 11th, 2020. The law removes jail time as a penalty for possessing up to three grams of the substance but maintains the $130 fine. Under legalisation, cannabis possession penalties are eradicated and sales are mostly allowed. Decriminalisation, opposed to legalisation, still allows harsher punishment for possession of larger amounts and selling the drug.

Pro-legalisation advocates are concerned that the ban on selling marijuana will keep consumers buying from illegal sources effectively giving money to criminal organisations, resulting in consistent arrests, and doing nothing to aide the racial disparities surrounding the issue.

Advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project isn’t satisfied with the regulations, “Unfortunately, three grams would be the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalised (or legalised) simple possession of marijuana. Still, removing criminal penalties and possible jail time for possession of a small amount of cannabis is an improvement.”

Eleven states in the US have already fully ‘legalised it’. Including Hawaii, there are 15 additional states who have decriminalised marijuana, leaving many states such as Texas and Wyoming keeping it completely illegal.