Hawaii Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Dies

A bill that would have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana has died in the House. Legislators earlier killed a marijuana legalization bill.

The decriminalization bill, Senate Bill 472, passed out of the Senate a month ago and saw fervent debate in House committee hearings, but House leaders said there was not enough support for the bill to move forward.

Rep. Karl Rhoads (D-District 29), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee told the Associated Press Wednesday that there weren't enough votes to push the bill through. And although the state's two-year legislative session would allow the bill to be taken up again next year without having to pass the Senate again, Rhoads said he doubted that would happen.

"It was a moderate measure," Rhoads told the AP. "If this couldn't pass, I think it's very unlikely that anything is going to pass next year."

Marijuana reform supporters, including the ACLU of Hawaii and two new coalitions aimed at changing the state's marijuana laws, Fresh Approach Hawaii and the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii, had been optimistic about the bill's prospects after it passed the Senate, but it ran into stiff opposition from law enforcement and community groups. Police testified that reforming the marijuana laws would make their job more difficult and increase crime.

– Article originally from Stop the Drug War, used with permission.



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  3. Darren on

    What are you talking about anonymous? Decriminalization passed the Senate and up to 57% of Hawaii voters favor legalization. This state will definitely have marijuana reform before Texas, as our legislature won’t even consider moving cannabis possession to a class C misdemeanor much less a medical cannabis law.

  4. Anonymouse on

    There was a bill introduced to legalize or a pseudo decrim bill that fell flat while I was living in Hawaii. There were police officers handing out flyers at the local supermarkets trying to dissuade shoppers from approving the bill. Christian church organizations were doing the same – a lot of law enforcement belong to the many Christian organizations in Hawaii.

    After leaving the supermarket I pass a couple of people smoking cannabis. I walk a little further and I smell cannabis from a few passing vehicles (happens everyday in Honolulu).

    Cannabis in Hawaii is scarce (for me), but there seems to be a lot of people consuming cannabis on a daily basis. The state has a MMJ protection, but no dispensaries.

    Cannabis is seen as a problem by a majority of the republic (Asian, Samoan, Caucasian). The problem is that the people that are involved in the state government are simple minded and theocratic. Cannabis will remain illegal in Hawaii well after Texas legalizes.

    There is little change in Hawaii, cultural changes are at a near standstill. It is that way because Hawaii is isolated and simple in its nature and many want to keep it that way (reason why I left – had nothing to do with island fever).

    Hats off to those that will try and change the law. It seems that the people of Hawaii are not ready for change. Its unfortunate since Hawaii weather and soil is perfect for cannabis and hemp cultivation all year round ( a boon for an economy that relies exclusively on tourism).