It's official: Hawaii has just decriminalized marijuana

Foliage, Cannabis, Marijuana, Lush
It's official: Hawaii has just decriminalized marijuana

More and more States are changing their approach and stopping treating part of their citizens as criminals

It is now official: the American state of Hawaii has just decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis. In total, there are now 26 American states that have adapted similar legislation.

A question of quantity

With this new law, possessing up to 3 grams of marijuana is now punishable by a fine of only $130. Beyond that, however, there is always the risk of a prison sentence. All this contrasts, however, with the situation that was in progress before this law, where even a very small amount was sentenced to up to 30 days in prison, and a fine of up to $1,000.

To pass this law, Parliament first put in place a draft law. Mostly Democrats, they quickly agreed on the text, and forwarded it to the local governor for promulgation. The latter, David Ige, strongly opposed it. On the other hand, it has not pronounced its veto either, and therefore the law can come into force as early as next year, since the deadline was last Tuesday.

As one marijuana rights group stated, "the removal of criminal sanctions and the possibility of imprisonment for possession of a small amount of cannabis is an improvement.

Decriminalization does not constitute legalization

Indeed, there is a major difference. We are talking about decriminalization here, which means that a small amount of this drug is no longer punishable by imprisonment. On the other hand, the fine still prevails, here up to $130 for small quantities. And for the larger quantities, which are often similar to drug trafficking, the penalties are much harsher and often lead to prison.

If it were legalization, there would be no sanctions at all for possession of marijuana. Also, in this kind of legal framework, sales are allowed in strictly controlled centres. This is the case in several countries, such as the Netherlands. Its form of cannabis sativa indica plants, the consumption pattern known as herb or marijuana is the most widespread in Europe. Under legal conditions, for example, more than 120 kg of medical cannabis was sold in 2008 in the Netherlands.

Moreover, some are in favour of decriminalization, but are strongly against legalization. Indeed, it allows us to address the problems of penalties, which are considered far too harsh and costly in the United States. According to them, if legalization were to take place, it would open up the American market to large corporations and the drug trade, which are considered irresponsible. Here, cannabis/majiruana is not legalized, and therefore there will be no legal point of sale for consumers. Criminal organisations will therefore always be in the front line, and violence and harmful chemicals will always be used... consumers will logically be the first victims.